The Roman Period in Southern and Gard France
One of the most intriguing times in history leads us to the Roman period. They are well known for displaying a keen sense of ingenuity in a time where resources were limited. Romans did not have heavy machinery, yet they were able to design and build structures that still exist today. A fascinating level of engineering expertise allowed them to construct what seemed impossible for their time period. Aside from sheer innovative brilliance, they had a foundation of belief systems, practices and social or political processes that led them to conquer and claim several regions.
The formation of what we now know as France, has been a long journey of wars and transitioning cultures that resulted in a new translation of language and lifestyle. Southern France was in the territory that was once considered as Gaul. During this period, the people of Gaul existed alongside the Romans. Religious differences and political views made for friction among the sides. France was governed by the Romans for over 500 years. In this time the colonization period became commonplace creating a collaborative culture. As southern France moved into the future, the signature of the Roman period profoundly remains.
La Maison Carrée
One of the most well-preserved Roman temples in the world is located in Nimes. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the temple was converted into a church. There have been some maintenance performed through the years, however keeping the integrity of the original structure a priority. One of the unique details you will find, is a media presentation that travels back to the thriving Roman period in Nimes.
The Arena in Nimes was built centuries ago and still stands as a tribute to Roman engineering. This architectural wonder hosts thousands of seats that are lavishly set with ornate details and arches. The Romans used the Theater for gladiator events, plays and executions. The Arena is still in use today for events that are surrounded undeniably by the rich cultural aspects of the Roman period.
Pont Du Gard
An Aqueduct and bridge were hand designed and built to reach an approximate 160 feet high. Grand arches and levels were engineered as an Aqueduct to transport water to the area. The innovative water way has remained intact showing the highly regarded skill sets of the Romans. Nearby, you will find a museum with artifacts of the original building process and guidance of the areas intrinsic past.
Arles Arena and Amphitheater
Built by the Romans for spectator derived activities, the Arena in Arles is well preserved. At one time you would expect to see chariot races and theatrical displays. Today, you can visit the Amphitheater for one of the many scheduled occasions or tours. It is now noted as a World Heritage Site providing insight to its historic origins.
Interestingly, Roman builds were made from a concrete mixture that was mortar free and effectively applied. If you find yourself in the realms of Southern France, it is both a humbling and extraordinary experience to be in the presence of the Roman Empire.