The Colosseum in the centre of Rome was originally named the Flavian Amphitheater. It is the largest amphitheater ever built in the Roman Empire and is considered to be one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering. Construction started in 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD under Titus. It was able to seat 50,000 spectators and was used for Gladiatorial fights, plays based on classical mythology, executions, mock sea battles and animal hunts. It was a social meeting place and stands near the Roman Forum. Like many other amphitheaters its use changed in later centuries, it was used to house religious orders, as a fortress and a quarry. Although a large part of the Colosseum now stands in ruins due to earthquakes and stone robbers, it is still an iconic symbol of the Roman Empire and it also has long connections with the Catholic Church, the Pope leads a torchlight procession on Good Friday from the area around the Colosseum. It is one of the most visited sites in Rome, with 4 million visitors every year.
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