Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hadrian's Gate

The castle was but a 2 hour stop over so we jumped back in the car, wove our way down the hill...oops...wrong way....wove back up the hill...finally down the other side and found the route Nuvi liked (she's our navi system with a penchant for finding the narrowest and twistiest routes possible) and headed off for of the best preserved Roman cities in the near East. While the area had been occupied for thousands of years, the Romans took over in about 60 BC, building their city complete with a chariot racetrack, baths (two sets, most likely rich people/poor people) amphitheaters, temples and more. Once again, trade was a big reason for the city and the Romans capitalized on it, developing roads and bringing in more people to the city.

Now...our hotel was right across from the main gate and was, appropriately, called "Hadrian Gate Hotel". It was built right on top of a outcrop of rocks and even has a cave underneath. Small hotel but the people were great!

The entrance is through the great Hadrian Gates, built to honor the Emperor Hadrian when he came to visit. They are a huge monument, making you wonder, once again, how in the world were they able to raise the stones to create these gargantuan structures? Right next to the massive gate is the Hippodrome -- the chariot race track. Walking out into the arena, you can picture tournaments and races happening here - with people up in the stone bleachers looking out at the chariots flying by. They still have races there but sadly not on the day we roamed the streets. Ah well.

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