17 August 2021  |  Architecture, UNESCO

Arles Amphitheatre

The town of Arles was a thriving city during the height of the Roman empire. In 90 AD, the town built this impressive amphitheatre, which provided seating for over 20,000 good Roman citizens. Inspired by the famed Coliseum in Rome, the structure has over 120 arches, a series of galleries and staircases, and two levels of seating. For over four centuries the amphitheater provided a variety of entertainments, including gladiatorial battles, chariot races, and theatrical performances.


With the fall of the Western Empire in the 5th century, the amphitheatre became a shelter for the population and was transformed into a fortress with four towers. The structure encircled more than 200 houses, becoming a real town, with its public square built in the centre of the arena and two chapels, one in the centre of the building, and another one at the base of the west tower.


Today, the amphitheatre is used for traditional bullfighting festivals and cultural events. The Amphitheatre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with many other buildings in the city of Arles.


 © Arles 

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Hugh Atkins

Co-founder of Pure France. 20 years of visiting and photographing fabulous properties, meeting fascinating people and driving every main and back road in France.

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