The Roman era saw many magnificent buildings built with some that still stand today as testament to the talents of Roman architects and builders. The Romans built roads, walls, bridges and buildings that not only looked beautiful but were practical too. Here we take a look at some of the greatest buildings ever constructed during the reign of The Romans.
Hadrians Wall is probably the most famous wall in the world after the Great Wall of China, while visitors can still see the wall today. Hadrians Wall separated England from Scotland in order to protect The Romans from attack from the Scots and was named after Emperor Hadrian who commissioned its building back in 120 AD.
It took nine years of blood sweat and tears to build the wall, it was five metres high, four metres wide and approximately eighty miles long stretching across the North of England. Visitors can walk coast to coast by following the path of the wall. Every mile or so was erected a small fort that housed a garrison of Roman soldiers, while a ditch ran alongside the wall too.
It is astounding to think that after two thousand years many parts of the wall still stand, while in order to preserve what remains of Hadrians Wall it has been deemed a Unesco World Heritage Site. Anyone interested in The Romans must surely visit Hadrians Wall as a matter of course.
Theatre of Marcellus
The Theatre of Marcellus is an open air theatre located in Rome that was built in the latter years of the republic in 13 BC. The theatre was named after Emperor Augustus's nephew Marcellus who unfortunately did not live to see its completion. Much like in theatres today, Roman people would gather in order to watch dramas, plays and musical performances.
Holding up to twenty thousand people this theatre was one of the largest and most prestigious of the theatres in Rome. It stood one hundred feet high, while its design of multiple levels and arches was later copied by the architects of the Colosseum in Rome.
Each level of The Theatre of Marcellus had a different style namely Doric, Ionic and Corinthian, while the theatre went on to become a fortress in the Middle Ages. The first two levels can still be seen today just as they were in Roman times, while the rest has been redesigned over the years by subsequent owners of the theatre.
Lugo City Walls
The city of Lugo in Northern Spain is surrounded by Roman Walls that are completely undamaged and stand as magnificently today as they did thousands of years ago when they were built. These awe inspiring walls look amazing by night a they are floodlit and are a real sight to behold for those of us who love and admire Roman architecture.
The Lugo walls stand some fifty feet high and have seventy one towers and ten gates sited along their course, while as with Hadrians wall these walls are a Unesco World Heritage Site. The walls have internal and external facings with earth filling the central area inbetween and most of the towers have survived to the present day which is amazing!
The original gates have changed somewhat over the centuries but the Falsa and Mina Gates still have the original Roman vaulted arch set between two towers.
The Roman Baths
The Roman Baths are located in the city of Bath in England and are a fine example of a Roman public bathing site. The baths are made up of The Sacred Spring, The Roman Temple, The Roman Bath House and a Museum where artefacts found on the site of the baths are displayed.
Although The Romans bathed here the waters that flow through the baths now are deemed unsafe therefore bathing is not allowed. The baths were not discovered by the Romans it was The Celts who built the first shrine here, while the Roman Temple was built around 60 AD with the baths gradually built and extended over the following three hundred years.
The first part of the baths was built during the reign of Emperor Claudius and comprised of a stone lead lined chamber. By the second century it had been enclosed inside a barrel vaulted ceilinged wooden structure housing a cold, warm and a hot bath respectively. The baths have been modified and updated over the centuries but still stand as testament today to the creativity of The Romans.
Arch of Constantine
This magnificent arch, one of three surviving Roman Arches, stands close by to The Colosseum in Rome and was erected in 315 AD to celebrate the victory of Constantine I over Emperor Maxentius. Following this battle Constantine famously became a Christian stating that it was because of God's instruction to draw a cross on their sheilds that he won the battle.
The seventy feet high Arch of Constantine has survived undamaged for centuries and has some of the most extravagant statues, carvings and decorations of any construction of its kind. The arch comprises of three archways one large at the centre and two smaller on either side.
The statues that stand at the top of the arch depict Dacian captured soldiers who were defeated by the Trajan army. The lower decorations comprise of a frieze that depicts Constantine driving the enemy into the River Tiber. Viewing this amazing structure is a must for all visitors to Rome.
Tower of Hercules
The Tower of Hercules is located in La Coruna Harbour North Western Spain and is an ancient Roman Lighthouse still in use today plus is the oldest lighthouse in the world today too! Fifty five metres high the lighthouse was built on a rock some fifty seven metres high making it a magnificent structure to behold.
The tower is certainly impressive and dominates the skyline of the area, while visitors can climb the stairs to its open turrent to take in the breathtaking views. The towers name came about probably via myth and legend as it was said that Hercules destroyed Geryon The Giant and buried his head. He then decreed that a town be built, so, Brigantia was established or Coruna as it is today.
Back to reality, The Tower of Hercules was most likely built in the second century and inscriptions that were unearthed on the tower's foundations state that Sevius Lupus a Roman engineer probably had something to do with its construction.
This spectacular building is located in Nimes France and was built in 16 BC by General Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa who dedicated the temple to his young sons Caius and Lucius, who had previouusly died unexpectedly in somewhat suspicious circumstances. An inscription dedicating the temple to the two boys was unfortunately removed in Medieval times but was reconstructed in the late 1700's.
Maison Carree is one of the worlds best kept Roman temples probably due to the fact that the temple became a Christian church in the fourth century. The Temple was built from local limestone but it is without doubt that the design of the building is of Roman origin and is a perfect example of Vetruvian architecture. Vetruvian was an eminent architect and former army officer under Julius Caesar.
The city of Pompeii was consumed by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD thus leaving us with a city frozen in time that contains hundreds of artefacts, buildings and bodies of the dead as they were at the moment of destruction on that fateful day. We can only imagine the terror that consumed the population of Pompeii but for us it is an unmissable monument to how the Romans led their lives.
Located not far from Naples this ancient Roman city, along with Herculanium, was destroyed when Vesuvius erupted and showered up to six metres of red hot burning ash onto the area. Excavations over the years have unearthed a preserved way of life with jars, tables, paintings, homes, public buildings, baths, a forum plus wall grafitti and inscriptions that tell us a lot about the ancient way of Roman life, all uncovered.
Pompeii is a World heritage Site that is visited by millions of tourists every year such is the amazing experience when walking around this superbly maintained ancient city. The Temple of Apollo was built in 2 BC and is one of the cities most important structures. The city had twenty five fountains, four public baths and an amphitheatre making it a spectacle not to be missed by enthusiasts of the ancient Romans.