UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES TRIERThe Amphitheater
The Amphitheater delighted the population of ancient Trier as a place of entertainment, and can still be visited today including the arena, the tiered seating and the cellars. Here there was once a stage mechanism: a type of lift that enabled lavish performances to take place in the arena. The cages and the areas in which people and animals used to wait for their fights at the edge of the ring fence can also be viewed.
The Amphitheater was built towards the end of the 2nd century, and was a place of mass entertainment similar to today's events arenas. When the building was constructed, it was probably integrated into the city wall as a gate. The tiered seating was approximately 22 metres high, and held up to 18,000 spectators. The mostly bloodthirsty entertainment programme showed fights between people or animals. But the arena, surrounded by a protective parapet wall four metres high, did not just serve as a setting for “bread and circuses”. It was also used for gatherings or religious festivals. When the Roman Empire came to an end, the Amphitheater was no longer used. At the beginning of the 13th century, it was used by monks as a place to store materials and plundered for building stone, and later the tiers of the Amphitheater were planted and used for wine growing. The first excavations of the arena building began in the 19th century, and the arena cellar was uncovered around 1908.