Rome’s 2800-year-old Circus Maximus reopens to public after restoration

On November 16, 2017, Rome, Italy unveiled a restored archaeological site at the 2800-year-old Circus Maximus on Wednesday, showing off the spruced-up ruins of one of the ancient world’s biggest public entertainment venues.

The 600-metre grassy expanse shows few signs of the chariot races that once drew hundreds of thousands of spectators, and what remains of its ancient stands have been partially closed off by wire fences and hoarding for years.

But from November 17, 2016 on, people will be able to visit the arched walkways where senators and plebeians once gathered. Archaeologists have identified ancient shops and a cobbled road has been excavated.

The oval-shaped “stadium” had a capacity of 150,000 people, and gargantuan dimensions of 620 m of length (2,033 ft or 678 yards) and about 140-150 m (492 ft or 159 yards) of width (by the time of Augustus). The inside track, covered in sand, boasted an area of 43,000 sq m or 465,000 sq ft – which is equal to more than 8 American football fields! This racing track also contained the spina, the crucial median strip of the circus – at the end of which the charioteers made their dangerously calculated turns.

Pre-restoration photo by Petar Milošević via Wikipedia.

See full Reuters article.

See full Realm of History article by Dattatreya Mandal.

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