License: Creative Commons - Attribution Author: Wolfgang Staudt
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The Arena of Nîmes
is a Roman amphitheater found in the French city of Nîmes. Built in 27 B.C., it was remodeled in 1863 to serve as a bullring. The Arenas of Nimes is the site of two annual bullfights, and it is also used for other public events.
The building encloses an elliptical central space 133 m long by 101 m wide. It is ringed by 34 rows of seats supported by a vaulted construction. It has a capacity of 16,300 spectators and since 1989 has a movable cover and a heating system.
The Arena of Nîmes was constructed in the time of Emperor Augustus. As the Empire fell, the amphitheater was fortified by the Visigoths and surrounded by a wall. During the turbulent years that followed the collapse of Visigoth power in Hispania and Septimania, not to mention the Muslim invasion and subsequent reconquest by the French kings in the early eighteenth century, the viscounts of Nîmes constructed a fortified palace within the amphitheater. Later a small neighborhood developed within its confines, complete with one hundred denizens and two chapels. Seven hundred people lived within the amphitheater during the apex of its service as an enclosed community.
The buildings remained in the amphithater until the eighteenth century, when the decision was made to convert the amphitheater into its present form.
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