Now, the Rome Colosseum is officially the biggest amphitheater in the world, the largest monument in the capital city of Italy, and the second most visited place after the Vatican. No wonder it’s included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Let’s answer the most common questions about this phenomenal building with several basic facts you may be curious to know.
It is believed that the Colosseum once had a colossal statue of the Roman Emperor Nero nearby, which modeled that one of Colossus of Rhodes, a gigantic statue of the Greek god Helios (one of the he Seven Wonders of the Ancient World). Thus the amphitheater acquired its name.
To commemorate his own inauguration as Emperor of Roman Empire in 69 AD, Vespasian decided to build a big pleasure house, which was later called the Colosseum.
Emperor Vespasian belonged to the dynasty of Flavians, and the Colosseum was originally named Flavian Amphitheater to announce their might in stone.
Although we know that the Colosseum is made of concrete and stones, it is still a big secret how these materials have appeared to be so endurable. Obviously, the concrete used in the construction wasn’t the same as to what we are used today. The Pantheon and the Trajan’s Market are also about 2000 years and they are the living proof that ancient Roman’s concrete can stand the test of time. It is too advanced even for modern building industry. Scientists believe that the volcanic ash, which was allegedly part of the formula, made this concrete so lasting and prevented cracks.
The first stones of the Colosseum were the spoils taken in 70 AD from the ruined Jewish Temple in Jerusalem by Emperor Vespasian.
During the time, parts of the Colosseum were used in construction of other buildings and historical monuments, such as St. Peter's Basilica.
Vespasian started building the monument in 70 AD and his son Titus finished it in 80 AD. Thousands and thousands of slaves worked day and night to finish it in 10 years.
The amphitheater was used to entertain the Roman public approximately until the 5th century. During this time, first it was the biggest arena for man and animal fights, then it served the purpose of staging mock naval battles! For that reason the lowest part of the Colosseum –- hypogeum – was filled with water.
After the fall of the Roman Empire there was a long period of abandonment. Romans used the amphitheater for different unrelated purposes: storage and planting vegetables, merchants’ and blacksmith’s spots on the vaulted floors and so on. In the 16th century, Pope Sixtus V was planning an overhaul, but he died before the plan was fulfilled, so the monument had to wait again.
In 2013, the Colosseum became the center of the stage for the Rome city administration and the needed refurbishing began. It took 33 long months for archaeologists, architects and many other different specialists to restore the building. In 2017, some additional renovation works were done to allow the tourists to visit the top floors of the Colosseum. In the Ancient Rome, on the fourth and the fifth floors there were seats for the poorest part of the public. So now this is the top place to overview the interior of the amphitheater and get one of the most beautiful panoramas on the capital city of Italy.