Built at the end of the 1st century AD to seat 24,000 spectators, the Nimes Arena was one of the biggest Roman amphitheaters in Gaul (present day France). For a long time the construction of the amphitheater used to be attributed to emperor Augustus, who did a great deal for Nemausus (Nimes). Recent excavations however have proved that the Nimes Arena was constructed between 90 and 120 AD.
At the time of its construction the inhabitants of Nemausus had completely adopted the laws and customs of the Roman citizens. Just like the population of Rome they adored the Roman Games, particularly the Venatio (animal hunts) and gladiator combats.
After the Roman Empire fell the Nimes Arena was transformed into a fortress by the Visigoths. In the 12th century, Nimes became the home of the viscounts and a chateau was built inside the amphitheater. Later a small neighborhood developed within its confines, complete with 700 inhabitants and two chapels.
In 1863 the arena was remodeled to serve as a bullring and the buildings inside the arena were removed. Today it host two annual bullfights as well as other public events such as concerts and operas. Since 1989 it has a movable cover and a heating system.