The Roman Forum - Forum Romanum in Latin - is the heart of Rome. Today it is a square full of ancient ruins that belong to the Republican period of the Ancient Rome. About 25 centuries ago it was a busy and rather crowded center of social life and there are not many places in the world that have testimonies from such old periods of time.
Initially it was partly a swampy territory, which from 10th century BC used for 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.
With the land finally drained and dry, this area became a central gathering location for the Etruscan inhabitants. 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.
Part of Forum Romanum served for public events, such as elections, popular gatherings, celebrations, etc., and the other part was for trade shops. The main roads of the Roman Empire converged here too - such as Via Sacra, Vicus Tuscus, Vicus Iugarius, Clivus Capitolinus and Argiletum.
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, located in the very center of the modern city - in the valley between the Esquiline, Capitoline, and Palatine Hills.
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. In addition to the pagan temples, some public buildings, fountains, triumphal arches, and columns have been preserved.