The Roman Amphitheater at Xanten (Germany)

The Amphitheatre

LVR-Archaeological Park Xanten / LVR-RömerMuseum
* Trajanstraße 4, 46509 Xanten, Germany * Phone: +49 (0) 28 01 / 712 – 0 * *

The Amphitheatre

During the Roman occupation, their engineers built a new type of building where they could entertain their citizens with spectacular performances: A theatre enclosed on both sides (Greek: amphi-theatre). The APX is one of the few places north of the Alps where the fascination of these buildings is still tangible. These theatres held gladiator games of men vs men, beast, and animal; theatre; chariot races in the circus; and large public events. Some of these events are re-enacted during the tourist seasons when various events take place on the grounds. Just like then, as is now, the amphitheater is packed to its rafters with spectators. Visitors would come from far and wide to partake of the events. The seating was sufficient to accomodate roughly the entire population of Colonia. The amphitheater was reconstructed in the early 1980’s atop the original pillars discovered during the excavations. Lower terraces and one-quarter of the upper have been reconstructed revealing the building’s dimensions of 99 meters long x 10 meters high. Commoners sat in the upper rows, three bottom rows provided sufficient space for the city’s dignitaries to make themselves comfortable in armchairs. Rooms for the gladiators and cages for the animals were below with a passageway running through the vaults below the terraces. T
Today, the amphitheatre is once again the scene of regular performances, albeit without shedding a single drop of blood. Artistes of international renown come to Xanten to perform in the operas, operettas and musicals during the Summer Festival. Gladiator fights are one of the highlights of the Roman Festival Swords, Bread and Games. The gladiators also present their authentic equipment during the Roman Weekends in summer.

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