Roman Arena in Arles

The Arles Amphitheater is one of the most popular tourist attraction in the city of Arles. It was built around the 1st century BC and was capable of seating over 20,000 spectators on three tiers.

With the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, the amphitheater became a shelter for the population of Arles and was transformed into a fortress with four towers added to it. People started building houses inside the amphitheater and it became a miniature city with a public square in the center of the arena and two chapels.

Arles Amphitheater

The structures inside the Arles Amphitheater were removed in 1825 by the initiative of the writer Prosper Mérimée who recognized the historic value of the monument. From 1830 until the present day the arena has been used for hosting bullfights, which the Romans certainly would have approved as it is only slightly less brutal as the chariot races and bloody hand-to-hand battles they themselves enjoyed.