The place for the construction of the emperor Vespian was chosen very rationally, right on the site of the villa of the previous Emperor Nero, the very one who built a big fire in Rome. The new Flavian dynasty tried to destroy the legacy of the previous emperor, the people did not mind, since Nero did not use popularity. Details about all the emperors can be found in our article on the history of the Roman Empire.
It's hard to believe, but there was a time when ships sailed across the Coliseum. The amphitheater began to be built in 72 AD, finished in the 80th, but there were no basements then. The arena was sometimes flooded with water and imitated sea battles. You can say that he became the "water arena of death."
The basements were created already under the last emperor of the Flavian Domitian dynasty. The Coliseum lost the ability to display sea battles, but otherwise it was impossible. Such an arena needs many rooms for different purposes: to keep criminals and wild animals, to provide first aid to the wounded and other needs.
In the amphitheater, not only the gladiatorial fights and the execution of criminals were conducted. Immediately arranged quite peaceful activities, such as theatrical performances and concerts. The battles of gladiators were banned in the empire in the 5th century, and the Coliseum began to desolate. This was already the decline of the Roman Empire, and the Romans were not up to games and entertainment.
Further, this place was used as a cemetery, quarry, workshops or even as a meeting place for Satanists. With the latter connected one very exotic version of the origin of the name of the Colosseum. The incoming asked: "Eum Colis?", Which can be translated as: "Do you pray to him?", Here is meant the devil. Ostensibly from these words the name also went. This version is interesting, but it's hard to believe in it.
The most controversial moment in the history of this amphitheater are the facts of mass murders of Christians in the arena. Despite the frequent use of the image of martyrs in the arena in films and in paintings, there is no exact evidence for this.
Of course, the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire took place, you can not argue with this, and there are many irrefutable proofs to this. But there is no evidence of reprisals, such as they are shown in mass culture.
The less, Pope Benedict XIV in 1749 held an exorcism ceremony here, and the Colosseum became a church dedicated to all Christian martyrs who died on the sand of the amphitheater.
By the time the church took patronage over the building, the Coliseum lost 2/3 of its weight. For centuries, he was dragged into building materials. The same fate befell the second largest amphitheater of the era of ancient Rome in the city of El Jem, in the territory of modern Tunisia, we wrote about him a separate article, read it, it's interesting .
Now everyone can come here and see the most grandiose monument of the Roman era, but, perhaps, it will not last long, as studies show the deplorable state of the building, and its large-scale reconstruction is planned. Its timing has not yet been determined.
How to get to the Colosseum in Rome.
It's very simple. You need to get to the metro station "Colosseo", which is on line A. As soon as you exit the metro, you will immediately see the Colosseum, it is right next to the station.
What's the cover charge. How to buy a ticket in advance, and whether it should be done at all.
The entrance to the Coliseum costs 12 euros (at the time of writing this article). The ticket gives an opportunity to go inside the amphitheater itself, as well as visit the Roman Forum and the Palatine (do not confuse with a scoop - a woman's scarf).
Considering that you can watch three places of interest on a single ticket, the price can be considered very "democratic", especially for Italy, where you need to pay 18 euros to climb only the Leaning Tower of Pisa .
The ticket can be bought at the ticket office right near the Colosseum. Queues here are, and their length depends very much on the season. In winter there are almost no queues, and in summer during the peak of the tourist season you can stand 30 minutes or even longer.
In any case, there are no situations when there are no tickets at all, there are no "empty hands" you will not remain. The only question is how long will you stand in line.
You can buy a ticket online, there are several sites that provide this service. It's difficult to say if this makes a big sense, because apart from the price of the ticket, these sites add their mark-up and at least 2 euros for the reservation service.
The most convenient site for buying tickets is http://www.coopculture.it/en/colosseo-e-shop.cfm. There is no extra charge, you just need to pay the above 2 EUR. You can pay by credit card Visa or MasterCard.
ATTENTION! If you still decide to buy a ticket through the site, then you will be offered a choice between the options "print @ home" and "pickup @ ticket office", we showed this moment in the screenshot below.
print @ home - means that you will receive a full ticket by e-mail and print it at home. When you arrive at the Coliseum, you just show it at the entrance and go inside without any obstacles.
pickup @ ticket office - means that you will receive an e-mail with a special code, and by calling this code at the ticket office, get a ticket. For those who book a ticket in advance, there is a special ticket office with the inscription "reservations", where there is no queue.
Do not miss this moment when buying.
Children under 18 can go to the amphitheater for free. Earlier, only the children of EU citizens were allowed to go here without payment, but recently (in 2013) the rules "turned face" to the inhabitants of countries outside the European Union, and now all persons under 18 and after 65 years can see the sights of Rome for nothing.
Separately it is necessary to say about excursions. They are conducted in English, Spanish and Italian, and if you want to go for a walk in the Colosseum with a guide, it is worth reserving a place in advance, the number of vacant seats is limited.
For Russians, the good news is that you can buy an audio guide or video guide in Russian at the ticket office. It is worth the pleasure of 5.5 euros for the first and 6 euros for the second. Naturally, you take it on lease and at the output of the equipment you need to give back.
On the quality of audio and video guides, we can not say anything, since they were not taken. If any of the readers have such experience, please write to us.
The mode of operation is quite complicated, without a calendar in the hands it is difficult to understand. The Coliseum is open:
From 8-30 to 16-30 in the period from the last Sunday in October to February 15.
From 8:30 to 17:00 in the period from February 16 to March 15.
From 8-30 to 17-30 in the period from March 16 to the last Saturday of March.
From 8-30 to 19-15 in the period from the last Sunday in March to August 31st.
From 8:30 to 19:00 from September 1 to September 30.
From 8-30 to 18-30 from October 1 to the last Saturday in October.
In 2014 the amphitheater can be visited even at night. The special schedule is valid until November 1, 2014, it is quite complicated, not every day you can spend the night in the Coliseum, the schedule can be viewed on the above-mentioned site.
Do not forget that by the end of the Coliseum all visitors must leave there. Start inside in an hour before closing.
What to look inside.
Many of the Colosseum is disappointing, too much expectations of tourists from this landmark. The building is really grandiose. The length of 187 meters, a width of 156 meters. The amphitheater has the shape of an ellipse 527 meters long. This is impressive by modern standards, and it is even difficult to imagine how the Romans could build this 2,000 years ago.
Many people want to see something special inside, like cells for gladiators, a chic tribune of the emperor or something like that. But this is not here.
First of all, it's worth to stock up on time, because you need to walk here for a long time. The arena itself measures 54 meters in width and 86 meters in length, it is slightly smaller than a football field, but it is not fast to circumvent it around the perimeter.
You can imagine how these tribunes were filled with thousands of people. The Coliseum accommodated up to 50,000 spectators (according to some estimates up to 80,000, there are still disputes on this subject).
It is especially interesting to look at the basements, which have been covered with soil for a long time, they were dug up only in 1939. It was here that wild animals were kept underground, there was a hospital for wounded gladiators, cells for keeping the prisoners sentenced to death, a morgue and other service facilities.
Under the arena is a central corridor along the main axis, and 12 smaller corridors along it. In the era of ancient Rome, there was even an elevator, on which cages with animals and miscellaneous equipment for games were raised to the arena. Now you can see the remains of the mechanisms of this elevator.
In the upper part of the amphitheater, four meters above the arena were the stands for spectators. The lower ranks were intended for the emperor and the senators, some places were even signed. These seats were provided with wooden seats.
The places above were meant for wealthy citizens and so on, according to the principle "the richer you are and the more noble, the lower you sit." The last, the fifth in the account tier was intended for the poor, there the seats were only standing.
Now the stands are destroyed, for fans of free building materials they were "the most tasty morsel".
Summing up the above, let's say that a visit to the Colosseum will be very interesting if you strain your imagination. If you look at the Flavian amphitheater with a "sober glance", then there is not much interesting, as many expect.
For a long time, the Colosseum was "dragged" to the building materials, it survived several earthquakes, and now looks not so grandiose as it was in the era of Ancient Rome. But it still impresses with its size, and this impression you will definitely get.
Good luck in visiting the sights of Rome, good impressions, and read our articles about Italy ( links below ).