Arena of Nîmes

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Exterior of the Arena of Nîmes.
Aerial view of Nîmes with the arena in the centre.

The Arena of Nîmes is a Roman amphitheatre found in the French city of Nîmes. Built around 70 AD, it was remodelled in 1863 to serve as a bullring. The Arenas of Nîmes is the site of two annual bullfights during the Feria de Nîmes, 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.[1]

History[edit]

As the Roman Empire fell, the amphitheatre 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 conquest by the French kings in the mid eighth century, the viscounts of Nîmes constructed a fortified palace within the amphitheater. In 737, after failing to seize Narbonne, Charles Martel destroyed a number of Septimanian cities on his way north, including Nîmes and its amphitheatre, as asserted in the Continuations of Fredegar. Later a small neighbourhood developed within its confines, complete with one hundred denizens and two chapels. Seven hundred people lived within the amphitheatre during the apex of its service as an enclosed community. The buildings remained in the amphitheatre until the eighteenth century, when the decision was made to convert the amphitheatre into its present form.

Modern use[edit]

French New Wave filmmaker François Truffaut filmed part of his first film, "Les Mistons", in 1957.

British rock band Dire Straits recorded some of the live video and album, On the Night, in May 1992.

German Industrial Metal group Rammstein recorded the majority of their DVD, Völkerball, on July 23, 2005.[2]

American Heavy Metal band Metallica recorded their DVD, Français Pour Une Nuit, on July 7, 2009.

WWE hosted a house show in 2009 and in 2011.

French electronic group Justice recorded live album Access All Arenas on July 19, 2012.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nimes, Gard". languedocfrance.com. 
  2. ^ "2006 - 17. Nov - Völkerball". Rammstein.de. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°50′06″N 4°21′36″E / 43.83500°N 4.36000°E / 43.83500; 4.36000