The Roman Forum is a rectangular square situated between two most ancient hills of Rome, which are Capitoline and Palatine.
The picturesque ruins on the square today are the testimony left from the Republican period of Ancient Rome that once was the most vibrant social center of the great city. Being originally an Etruscan market, later on the Roman Forum became a powerful spot that used to serve public and political purposes for the Roman citizens. With its magnificent temples and venues this part of Rome became a busy and crowded center of life, the grandeur of which was never repeated again throughout Ancient Roman history.
10th century BC Initially this place was a partly swampy territory, which started to be used for Etruscan burials as confirmed by tombs found during archaeological excavations.
Around 6th century BC the territory was seen fit to build a sewer, the Cloaca Maxima, to provide proper drainage of the marshy land down to the Tiber River. When the Roman Republic came to be in 509 B.C., this area retained its public use, and eventually was where the Roman Senate gathered.
In the 2nd century BC three ancient basilicas were erected: Portia, Sempronia and Emilia. These basilicas were used for court and other social gatherings.
A bit later part of the Roman Forum was served for public events, such as elections, popular gatherings, celebrations, etc., and the other part was still reserved for trade shops. What's important, the main roads of the Roman Empire converged her, too. They are Via Sacra, Vicus Tuscus, Vicus Iugarius, Clivus Capitolinus and Argiletum. The Romans took a great pride in them, because building roads was a big breakthrough for people 2000 years ago and Ancient Roman Empire was the first to do so. Even today Roman roads are something that does not cease to impress people around the world. Some of the famous ancient roads do still exist and are even used today.
The oldest buildings on the Roman Forum, attributed to the era of the first kings of Rome, date back to the second half of the 6th century BC. And the last of those - the Column of Phocas - was erected almost a thousand years later, in 608 AD.
The Roman Forum was then abandoned and filled with a thick layer of dirt, turning into pasture known as Campus Vaccinus. Some temples and public buildings were turned into Christian churches, which allowed them to be preserved over time. During the Renaissance, the place was used as a source of marble and as a stone quarry.
Nowadays, the Roman Forum is one of the most important historical places. Here is the heart of the Ancient Rome tourists can imagine once powerful and great center of the greatest among civilizations. This landmark can be also a great panoramic view for those who go the Palatine Hill, standing on the top and looking down the valley from above.
Despite the fact that many buildings of the Roman Forum are irretrievably lost today, we can still see a rather large number of antique buildings and remaining from other ancient constructions. In addition to the pagan temples, some public buildings, fountains, triumphal arches, and columns have been preserved through 2000 years, many of which, by the way, were oblivion and looting. Maybe, instead of crying over the fate of this place (some archaeologists and tourists do), we should consider ourselves lucky: after all this long time so much has left of the once glorious Foro Romano!