The Roman Amphitheatre in Trier dates back to the first century AD and stands near to the Roman Imperial Baths. The Amphitheatre, like the Imperial Baths, was a popular social meeting place. The word “Amphitheatre” , first used in Roman times, means “stands on all sides”. Spectators within the Amphitheatre are able to watch from all sides in contrast to the Ancient Greek Theatres. The amphitheatre in Trier could seat up to 25,000 people. The structure is elliptical with a stepped auditorium. It was completely surrounded by a high wall which stabilized the earth banks behind
As for the city wall, the walls here were built of double limestone. The thirteen door openings are still there today and there is an entrance into the vast cellars below where the exotic animals, convicts, performers and gladiators were kept before bringing them up into the amphitheatre for the performance. There was also a movable platform which took them up to the arena for the final show-down. Although some of the performances were quite fun, with clowns, actors and poets, there were also many very cruel, brutal fights with the combatants losing their lives. Many of the spectacles displayed here were sponsored by wealthy Romans, citizens wanting to promote something, politicians looking for votes or members of the Imperial House, therefore no fee was asked for from the public. The shows put on were run by highly organised entertainment organisations, quite similar to many of today’s organisers. In the 5 th century, with Germanic tribes making frequent raids, the Amphitheatre was used as a place of refuge . From 1211 the monks of the monastery in Himmerod were allowed to remove some of the stones for their building works.
In the present day the Amphitheatre is used for festivals and open-air concerts, the acoustics in this arena are amazing. During the summer months there are tours to be taken and the Gladiator Valerius shows visitors around the passageways, cellar and dungeons giving an account of life as a Roman Gladiator. (Booking recommended).
April to September:
Each Friday and Saturday: 6:00 and *8:00 p.m. (*on great demand)
Sundays and holidays 6:00 p.m.
Each Friday and Saturday: 5:00 and *7:00 p.m. (*on great demand)
Sunday and holidays: 5:00 p.m.
Duration: about 1 hour and 15 minutes