Théâtre Antique

Arles - Monument

Date: End of the first century BC
Era: Antiquity
Type: Public cultural architecture
Status: Property of the Town of Arles, listed as a national Historic Monument in 1840 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.
The Roman Theatre of Arles, which preceded its famous neighbour the amphitheatre by a century, is less well preserved.
Constructed at the end of the 1st century BC, it dates from the first phase of urbanisation of the Roman colony founded by Caesar in 46 BC.
It was built on the L'Hauture hill and was part of the Roman grid system, on the decumanus (East-West road).
It was fortified in the Middle Ages and lost to encroaching construction work; its material was often reused for neighbouring buildings. Even the original function of the monument is unknown.
This function was rediscovered in the late 17th century and its origin was confirmed over the following centuries thanks to a number of archaeological finds excavated from the ground, including the famous 'Venus of Arles'.
It was not until the 19th century that the site was completely cleared.
All that remains are a few seating rows, the orchestra section, the stage curtain area and two tall marble columns topped with a fragment of entablature.
However, the theatre is once again being used as a performance venue, particularly in summer.
The Roman Theatre in Arles has a diameter of 102 m.
Its 33 rows of seats, many of which have now disappeared, backed onto an outer enclosure consisting of three levels of arches.
The theatre could accommodate 10,000 spectators.
The orchestra section is separated from the cavea by a wall, the balteus, in front of which a 1.2 m wide area was reserved for the portable seats of the colony's nobility.
The pulpitum wall marked the separation between the orchestra and the stage area. It was adorned with decorated niches, including with the altar to Apollo which was found in 1828.
Many other areas of the site have revealed remains of this sumptuous decoration. Two staircases connected the orchestra to the stage.
Excavations and scientific studies have revealed the stage's main features.
It was approximately 6 metres deep and flanked by vast parascenia (wings) The stage wall was highly decorated.
It had three levels of columns and a large statuary, including the colossal statue of Augustus which is currently in the Departmental Museum of Ancient Arles. The famous statue of the 'Venus of Arles' is kept at the Louvre.
In the middle of the wall was the Royal gate, flanked on both sides by two columns; only those on one side are still in place today.
The theatre's outer enclosure comprised 27 arches resting on strong pillars. This façade had three levels, which can today only be seen in the southern section, included in the Tower of Roland, which was built in the early Middle Ages.

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Information provided by OT Arles

Nearby

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  4. Gallery eight

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Where to stay

Jules César
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Jules César

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The Hotel Jules César Arles, a stunning secret location. Located in the city centre of Arles and entirely renovated and decorated early 2014 by Christian Lacroix.Once the Jules César 17th-century Carmelite Convent offers true comfort 5 stars.

Gita Luna
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Gita Luna

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Nice little cottage in the middle of olive trees, independent. Air-conditioned all comfort ideal for 2 people. His small courtyard sunset side and its terrace on the South side make a soothing place to vacation.His most: regulation on arrival, pool without a schedule, free Wifi, to 200 meters…

Le Mazet 35
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Le Mazet 35

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Our "typical of Camargue" residence is a model of provencal village.Our accomodations, no. 35 and no. 36 are located in a site of tourism with many activities, all available for tenants. The residence is perfectly closed and secure. Our accomodations, inside this residence have a garden enclosed…

M. Bourdin Bernard
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M. Bourdin Bernard

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In a garden bloomed, a charming place to 8 minutes walk from the historical centre, you won't forget our home or breakfasts of Michele.Your vehicle may be parked safely inside our garden.

CRAU Hotel
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CRAU Hotel

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In Provence, at the gates of the Alpilles, the Camargue is still a wild land full of traditions. CRAU Hotel, the companion of your stays in Arles. 5 minutes from the historic centre. Enjoy our warm hospitality, friendly, our comfortable and functional rooms.

La Tonnelle - Le Vieux Platane
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La Tonnelle - Le Vieux Platane

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The Arbor and the old tree are located at each end of the mas (West - is) with a terrace individual without neighborhood, equipped with a living room of garden and barbecue.Ground floor, living room/kitchen and upstairs 2 double rooms + 1 mezzanine with 2 single beds, a Toilet and a bathroom…

The Hôtel Particulier
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Located a few metres from the historical city centre of the pretty town of Arles, the particular hotel opens its doors for an idyllic stay in the heart of a verdant region. This mansion dating from the 17th century will delight you with its splendid rooms elegantly decorated in a mix of textures…

Porte de Camargue
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Hotel with terrace, 25 air-conditioned rooms including 20 accessible by lift, equipped with WC, shower or bathtub, dry hair, safety box, satellite TV, telephone, free Wifi.

La Maison Blanche
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La Maison Blanche

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Things to do

Musee Reattu
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Larry
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L'atelier
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Farfantello
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Lysiane Laurent
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L ' Arlésienne perfumery
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Aurélie Guillemin
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House Plata
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Santons Henri Vezolles
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Galoubet
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