Arles


Arles is a fairly large city with a small historical center that dates back to Roman times and there are many significant Roman ruins there. It sits along the Rhone River and was also famously the home to Vincent van Gogh from 1888-1889.  Because of its strategic location it was inhabited first by Ligurians in 800 BCE and then Romans around 123 BCE expanding the port capabilities. By the 5th century the population was 100,000 and it was considered the center of Gaul.

Emperor Constantine spent considerable time here and built a number of important structures, best known are the baths of which very little remains.  Over the centuries it was the location for many conflicts both religious, political, and economic.  Once the railroad was built the port diminished and Arles became more of a backwater and hence popular with artists and now tourists.

Taken from the tower of the arena looking out over the river in the distance
Taken from the tower of the arena looking out over the river in the distance
Built in 90 CE one of the most intact (and oval) Roman amphitheaters. It could accommodate 20,000 spectators. It's 446 X 358 ft.
Built in 90 CE one of the most intact (and oval) Roman amphitheaters. It could accommodate 20,000 spectators. It’s 446 X 358 ft. Notice the tower which is an unusual feature of this amphitheater added during the Middle Ages. This structure became a fortress at that time so the towers (4 at the time) were used for defense.
Surprisingly they have use the amphitheater today for bull fights brought from Spain.
Surprisingly they have use the amphitheater today for bull fights brought from Spain.
The Romans invented and perfected the use of concrete which made such large structures possible. As you walk around in the amphitheater you see many shells imbedded in the concrete along with small pebbles and sometimes even glass. This particular shell was much larger than usual.
The Romans invented and perfected the use of concrete which made such large structures possible. As you walk around in the amphitheater you see many shells imbedded in the concrete along with small pebbles and sometimes even glass. This particular shell was much larger than usual.
It's easy to see how modern stadiums are designed to be just like the amphitheaters of the Romans, even the way the entrances to the seats are organized.
It’s easy to see how modern stadiums are designed to be just like the amphitheaters of the Romans, even the way the entrances to the seats are organized.
Built during the reign of Augustus and plundered during the Middle Ages for building materials it wasn't rediscovered until the 19th century. Personally I am disappointed to see a theater like this with all the new scaffolding and lights for use in modern times though will admit I've been to performances in spaces like this which are quite magical. Another one of those two sides to the argument things.
This theater was built during the reign of Augustus (1st century) and plundered during the Middle Ages for building materials it wasn’t rediscovered until the 19th century. Personally I am disappointed to see a theater like this with all the new scaffolding and lights for use in modern times though will admit I’ve been to performances in spaces like this which are quite magical. Another one of those two sides to the argument things.
This is a well preserved Romanesque church.  The portal is decorated with biblical scenes and figures of important church leaders.
This is a well preserved Romanesque church. The portal is decorated with biblical scenes and figures of important church leaders.
Here you can see some of the figurative details on one side of the portal.  I especially like the "creatures" depicted in the foreground.
Here you can see some of the figurative details on one side of the portal. I especially like the “creatures” depicted in the foreground.
Subterranean galleries ventilated by air shafts were part of the forum's structure.
Subterranean galleries ventilated by air shafts were part of the forum’s structure.
Later used as grain storage spaces they were built in the 1st century BCE
Later used as grain storage spaces they were built in the 1st century BCE
There are three different crossing tunnel sections.
There are three different crossing tunnel sections.
The Place de la République is what is on top of the crypto portico today.  Notice the obelisk in the center from ancient times.
The Place de la République is what is on top of the crypto portico today. Notice the obelisk in the center from ancient times.
A street demonstration of the communist party protesting the changes in work rules in France.  Many teachers in this group have job security but are in solidarity with others who do not.
A street demonstration of the communist party protesting the changes in work rules in France. Many teachers in this group have job security but are in solidarity with others who do not.

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