Photo Story: Colossal Colosseum!

Before I begin talking about this colossal piece of architecture and how it got its name, let me tell you that it is always going to be a good idea to book your tickets for the Colosseum which is inclusive of your entry to the Palentine Hill and Roman forum beforehand. We weren’t aware of it and ended up standing in the queue for about an hour and in-between were often bothered by tourist guides who were charging 30 euros per person! We gave them a skip instead bought the tickets and audio guides after undergoing security check.  I do hope these photos will revive your memories of your visit or nudge you to book your tickets to ROMA!

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Unlike other amphitheatres that were dug into the hill sides this one was a freestanding structure made of stone and concrete. As of now two-thirds of it is in ruins and renovations underway.

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Admiring a portion of this architectural marvel that we could see standing under the harsh Italian sun.
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View of a part of the Palentine Hill from where we were standing in the queue.

The Colosseum was functional for over four centuries was used for gladiatorial combats, hunts, wild animal fights and larger combats such as mock naval engagements for which the arena was flooded with water;dramas from classical mythology too were staged. But, did you know that what we now know as the colosseum is actually the Flavian Amphitheatre or Amphitheatrum Flavium and only came to be known and popular by its current name because of its proximity to a colossal statue of Emperor Nero! 

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You can conveniently make out the condition of the Colosseum. The outer walls as well as the inside of the Colosseum are in ruins.

The arena of the Colosseum had a wooden floor and covered with sand (to soak the blood of combatants) under which was an elaborate underground structure called as  hypogeum. The hypogeum in turn was connected by underground tunnels to a number of places outside the Colosseum. The hypogeum wasn’t a part of the original construction, but was ordered to be constructed by Emperor Domitian. It consisted of 15 vaulted corridors with walls in tufa blocks and bricks at the side of the a central gallery along the long axis of the ellipse.

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The partially reconstructed arena as seen after climing a steep flight of stairs towards the marked point A inside the Colosseum. The arena suffered damages owing to natural phenomena and later when it was abandoned the site was used to quarry material to build important building like St. Peter’s Basilica among a couple of others.

There was in place an extremely complex system of lifts that were operated by slaves. It hoisted caged animals 24 feet up to the arena where both the cage lid and the trap door opened simultaneously and allow the animal to magnify the thrill of the audience.The lift was also used to lift props etc when any play was being enacted out. You will only have to stand in the arena to know the enormity of the Colosseum. Imagine the scale of madness of spectators hooting and rooting all along or chanting the name of the Emperor who was yet to occupy the VIP seat!

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A close-up of what lay beneath the hypogeum.

#Didyouknow that the Colosseum was active for some four centuries and could house about 50,000 spectators who could view it all for free?! In fact the inaugural game lasted for a 100 days!

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Barracks from the window.
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This Cross inside the Colosseum is dedicated to Christian martyrs with a plaque that read thus: The amphitheater, one consecrated to triumphs, entertainments, and the impious worships of pagan gods, is now dedicated to the sufferings of the martyrs purified from impious superstitions.
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The Arch of Constantine seen from inside the Colosseum. It is the largest Roman triumphal arch!
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Find this guy for me. While I clicked the photograph posted above this one, this lad was busy clicking his girlfriend with the Arch of Constantine in the background!
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One of the recent finds of an archaeological excavation.
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Here you have the Arch of Constantine with the Colosseum in the background seen on our way towards the Palentine Hill and Roman Forum which was a hell of an experience for us!
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