Zigzagging my way into Zaragoza’s old city centre, I came across, ahead of me, a glass canopy. A market perhaps? But no. It covered Caesar Augustus’ Roman Amphitheatre. I could inspect it quite well from the street, but on a whim, decided to pay the entrance fee and go in. ‘I’ve decided to take your word for it that you’re over 65’, the chivalrous man at the desk said. ‘It’s free for you’.
I was so glad I went. I discovered that this theatre was only relatively recently excavated. It was designed during the 1st century CE for an audience of 6,000 people (in a city of 18,000) and remained in use for some 200 years. When the Romans left, firstly the Moors covered over the site to provide extra housing space in the crowded city centre. Later, it became a Jewish quarter, and when the Jews were expelled in the 14th century, Christians moved in. And so it was until the late twentieth century. I didn’t quite understand why it had become possible to uncover and excavate this site in the 1970s. But I enjoyed exploring, and took pleasure in the unusual distorted views of it provided by the glass windows of the museum which explained the amphitheatre’s history.
Trees and the amphitheatre distorted in the museum windows.
Old meets new beyond the amphitheatre