Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2014 Germany Trip - Amphitheater @ Trier (UNESCO World Heritage)

Location: Trier, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:

<- previous: Porta Nigra (UNESCO World Heritage)

The last place that I chose to visit in Trier was quite near to my stay in Hilles Hostel. While wandering around the nearby suburbs and reveling in their peace and quiet, the amphitheater was visible over the low hill. In reality I need not pay an entrance fee and would still be able to see it, but I thought: why not just check out what it had to offer? It was not exactly exciting inside but the entrance fee was not without its pleasant surprise as well.

View of Amphitheater from the highest seating tier - the size was bigger than it seemed in this photo.

True to Trier's status as the capital of the West Roman Empire, it had baths, a palace and gates, so what better way to entertain the masses than a gladiator match in an amphitheater? And that was what they built. To make things easier for themselves, the Romans carved an oval pit out of the low hill, and the slopes became natural spectator seats without the need to raise artificial ones like the Colosseum.

Another view to show how elongated the rugby shaped amphitheater looked like.

The gladiatorial pit was the first visible and impressive part of the amphitheater. Walking through the entrance, I felt like a victorious general entering to the applause of spectators. The high walls along the entrance blocked my view, and once past the walls, the arena suddenly expanded far around me, an architectural illusion that certainly make any entrance grand. However the losing party would not have seen such a view.

The entrance no longer looked like it, but imagine these walls still erect in ancient times, the full view of the arena unseen apart from that directly in front of you.

The arena pit spread out around me

What are these holes along the wall? Shall return to find out later...

The entrance to the cellar

Lined along the arena were openings, some as small as a room, others leading to below the arena, ways which were no longer accessible. The underground cellar was vast, and this was where the admission price made it worth seeing as this cellar was not visible above ground. Granted there was only ruins down there but the dark flooded area was eerie.

While I was sure that it would not be flooded in the past, I could vividly imagine the stink of despair of the prisoners mingled with adrenaline of hungry beasts filling the damp space. I was alone down there and almost shocked myself when a new party entered from the entrance far from my spot. Definitely not a place for the faint heart.

The dark beyond

Quite scary when you are alone down here...

Everywhere was flooded

That blocked area looked like it would fit a scary movie or game...

Definitely would not want to stay here for too long

Finally escaping to the sun lit world

Let's see what were these holes

Small as a room, this one was converted into the store for gladiatorial sets.

This other hole led to the spectator seats.

Closest seat to the spectacle

Father and son duo thrown to the beasts!

Through another tunnel

Exploring the far side from the entrance

Modern wall and entrance to the amphitheater proper.

Plaque commemorating the inscription into UNESCO WHS.

Despite its age, the amphitheater is still used today, serving open air concerts once in a while. It is also the venue for the Antiquity Festival. The flat oval amphitheater did not take up much of my time as I did not find it as interesting as other ruins, apart from the cellar. Even so I believe that if time (and money) is on your side, and if you are one to walk off the beaten path, this could be a place for you. Otherwise perhaps spending more time at the few UNESCO World Heritages at Trier's center would be much more worthy.

<- previous: Porta Nigra (UNESCO World Heritage)

Environment:         A Roman amphitheater that survived the times
Suitable for:            History buffs, ruin explorers
Visit worthiness:       7/10
Historical value:        5.0/5.0 
Architectural value:  2.0/5.0
Photographic value: 2.0/5.0
Landmark value:       5.0/5.0

Entrance Fee:                  €4 (adult); €2.50 (17 and below); refer here for more prices
Opening Hours:             (Apr - Sep)  daily 9.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
                                               (Oct & Mar) daily 9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.
                                               (Nov - Feb)  daily 9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. 
Best Moment to Visit: noon when the sun shines straight down
Length of Visit:              1 hour

Website:                   http://www.trier-info.de/english/electoral-palace-info

Contact:                    +49 651 978080
E-mail:                      -
Address:                   Trier Roman Amphitheatre, Bergstraße, 54295 Trier, Germany.

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