Friday, December 3, 2010


Once again, we have intelligently chosen to take the wonderful red eye flight out of Doha, slaves to the ever ellusive cheap(er) flight. On the plus side, I finally watched all three of the Twilight when will number four come out?
I'm happy to say we are in the world of public transportation. Train from the airport was cheap, but slow. Took us within blocks of our apartment but we had no idea. The 10 minute walk took almost 20 by cab...and cost twice what it should have. We now have week long metro passes and have roamed everywhere for less than the first taxi.
When we finally settled in...and took a greatly needed nap, we headed off for the Roman Collesium. It is an enormous ampitheater that was an early symbol of the city of Rome. Apparently, according to the stories, the citizens of Rome could come to watch the games for free. They also had free food and wine for them inside!
The building itself would hold 80,000 people. It's hard to imagine that many people living in the area at that time. They had gladiator fights, wild animal fights, as well as naval battles! They would flood the arena and then stage great battles between two or more ships! Hard to imagine the required technology to allow them to do all of that in the same space. They also had a cover that could be pulled across the top to protect the people, particularly the dignitaries, from the rain and sun!Over time they added the understructure here where they housed the wild animals they would bring up to the arena. Apparently this was not in place when they were doing the naval battles (good thing too, if you wanted to keep your ship!)
A couple of earthquakes brought down a large section of the outer wall but that didn't stop it from being used, although,overtime, it has been abandoned, used to stage wild boar hunts ( hmmm...wild boar, I think of being in the foothills, not an arena), a fortress and a quarry. Sadly, the marble that once covered it almost entirely has been almost completely removed for other projects long ago.
These people really believed in recycling. Whenever a ruler was ousted or found in disfavor, any temple, arches, or other edifices that were built for him would be torn down. Not to let the building supplies go to waste, they would be incorporated into a new something for the new favored person. Situated next to the colosseum is the Arch of Constantine, built to commemorate his victory over somebody(history is not my strong suit here) and was created out of pieces from other, older, arches.

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