The ancient city, located on the site of modern Nimes, was called Nemaus. In the II century BC the Romans became the owners of this settlement. In the 1st century, they built an amphitheater in the image of the Coliseum in Rome. Since 1840, this building has been a historical monument. Currently, it is considered one of the best preserved European amphitheaters.
There was a school of gladiators in ancient Nimes, so the amphitheater often became a venue for cruel spectacles, during which gladiators fought with each other, as well as with predatory animals. Up to 25 thousand people gathered to look at these bloody scenes - such was the capacity of this arena.
The dimensions of the amphitheater were more than 130 meters in length and more than a hundred in width. The height of its walls exceeded 20 meters. The amphitheater was built in the shape of an ellipse and, interestingly, plumbing and sewage were connected to it, and places for noble visitors were marked with nameplates. For the convenience of the audience, an awning was pulled over the arena.
At the very beginning of the 5th century, gladiator’s fights were banned, and after some time the amphitheater was transformed into a fortress: part of its arches were laid with stone, the arena was dug in by a moat, and the inhabitants of ancient Nimes began to hide behind it and then settle. Inside the arena, more than two hundred dwellings and two churches were built. In this state, the historical building remained until the end of the XVIII century, then the inhabitants began to be evicted, and the amphitheater began to return to its original appearance.
A major restoration of the arena began in 1809. Since the mid-19th century, they began to use it as a venue for bullfights, and in the 20th century, rock music concerts began to be held here. Today, the amphitheater seats about three times less spectators than in antiquity.
City of Nimes (France)
Nimes is a city in southern France in the Occitania region. Located near the Rhone Valley and is the capital of the Gard department. Nimes is one of the oldest cities in the country, which literally froze on the threshold of Antiquity. Ancient Roman monuments are scattered throughout the historical center and some of them have been preserved in perfect (for their age) condition. Nimes also has a charming old town with cozy green streets, squares and a cafe, which retained the atmosphere of the southern French province and its rich historical heritage.
Geography and climate
Nîmes is located at the foot of the Garrig Plateau, 20 km west of the Rhone. The city is located on the border of Provence, 35 km from the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Nimes is one of the warmest cities in France. It has a Mediterranean climate, hot summers, humid warm autumn and mild winters.
- The population is more than 140 thousand people.
- Area - 161.85 km 2.
- The language is French.
- Currency is Euro.
- The visa is Schengen.
- Time is Central European UTC +1, in the summer +2.
- Nimes is located on the Montpellier - Avignon railway line. Also by train to the city can be reached from Paris, Lyon and Lille.
- A C30 bus connects Nimes with Arles.
- A small international airport is located 20 km from the city. He flies to London, Liverpool, Brussels.
- The local specialty is cod with mashed potatoes, milk, garlic and olive oil. Also popular is Gardiane de Taureau - beef stew with vegetables.
In ancient times, Nimes was the capital of the Celtic tribe of the Volks. In 121 BC these lands were conquered by the Roman Empire. The city on the site of the Gallic settlement was founded under the emperor Augustus. During this period, more than 50 thousand people lived in Nimes, and he himself was surrounded by a ring of fortress walls. The Romans built an aqueduct and an amphitheater here - one of the largest in the Roman Empire. Nimes reached its peak in the 3rd century. Subsequently, the palm passed to neighboring Arles.
Nimes became a colony of Rome in 28 BC The city was called Nemavus and was the capital of the province of Narbonne.
During the collapse of the Roman Empire, Nimes was sacked by the Vandals and then the Visigoths. Later, the city was captured by the Arabs, who were expelled by the Franks. After the collapse of the empire of Charlemagne, Nimes became part of the possessions of the counts of Toulouse. In 1229, the city was annexed to the French kingdom.
During the Reformation, Nime was one of the centers of the Huguenot movement. This resulted in several violent religious clashes. By the middle of the 17th century, Nim was in its heyday, which ended with the advent of the French Revolution.
Amphitheater (Arena) - an impressive ancient building, which is the most important monument of the Roman era and a witness to the ancient history of the city. The amphitheater dates back to the 1st century AD and accommodated 24,000 spectators. It is one of the largest structures of this kind in the world and, probably, the best preserved. Sixty graceful arches of the exterior are decorated at the bottom with pilasters, and at the top with decorative Doric half-columns. The amphitheater had more than 100 entrances - exits and could be filled / empty in a few minutes.
In the 5th century, the amphitheater was transformed into a fortress, and in the Middle Ages into a knight's castle. The ancient structure was restored recently. Now it is used for various cultural events and bullfights.
Maison Carré is an amazing building, which is one of the rare, fully preserved classical Roman temples. This structure was built between 20 and 12 BC. during the reign of Emperor Augustus, it was one of the main temples of the ancient Forum. The Maison Carré was inspired by the temples of Apollo and Mars in Rome and is distinguished by harmonious classical proportions. The facade has 15 tall Corinthian columns. In the Middle Ages, the temple was used as a monastery.
Jardins de la fontaine
Jardins de la Fontaine (Source Gardens) is a beautiful landscape gardening park located on the site of an ancient spring near the Maison Carré. Ornate gardens were set up around formerly fortified ramparts in the 18th century. They have several levels, decorated with fountains and sculptures. Here you can also find the mysterious ruins of the ancient Roman temple of Diana.
La tour magne
La Tour Magne is an ancient tower located on top of the Jardins de la Fontaine. This is all that remains of the Roman fortifications of Nimes.
Gate of Augustus
The Gates of Augustus are ancient Roman gates that provided access to the city through fortifications. They are located on an ancient road that led to Rome. The gate is believed to date back to the 15th century BC. and were later incorporated into the walls of a medieval fortress. They were discovered in the late 18th century.
Notre Dame y Saint Castor de Nimes
Notre-Dame-y-Saint-Castor de Nimes is a Romanesque-Gothic cathedral built on the site of a former Roman temple. The church was built in the 11th century and damaged during the Huguenot wars.
Church of st. Perpetua
Church of st. Perpetui is a beautiful eclectic-style church with a high bell tower. It was completed in 1864. The church overlooks the Charles de Gaulle Esplanade with shady plane trees, in the center of which there is a beautiful fountain. The sculpture of a woman on it symbolizes Maison Carré, and the sculptures below are the four sources that nourish Him.
Church of st. Bodily
Church of st. Bodile is a neo-Gothic church built between 1867 and 1877.
How to get there
Getting to Nime is easy. You can get here by car on the A9 or A54 routes, by SNCF train from Montpellier and Avignon (TER train) or Paris, Lyon, Lille or even Spain (TDV train). Finally, it is very cheap to get to Nimes from Arles by bus. Plus, about 20 km from the city center there is an airport that accepts flights from airlines such as Ryanair (from London and Brussels) and Iberia.
A bit of history
Nim's story is very, very long and rich. Millennia ago, these places were already inhabited, as evidenced by the finds of the Neolithic period, which date back to 4000–3500. BC e. The oldest of the monuments of this period have survived to our days: for example, the Kubessaka monolith, a limestone pillar standing alone in the middle of a field over 2 m high, which is already about 4,500 years old.
Historically, He was famous for the production of fabrics. By the way, the word “denim”, meaning blue jeans, came from here: it was called the “Nemsky twill”, serge de Nimes.
At the very turn of the millennium, Nimes became a Roman colony and, under the emperor Augustus, grew very large. Fortifications with 14 defensive towers were built here (two gates from these fortifications have survived to this day - the gates of Augustus and the French). The second period of prosperity fell to Nim in the middle of the 17th century, when the episcopal palace and numerous mansions were built here, as well as the Fountain Gardens.
They cannot be called the gastronomic capital of the world or France, but there are some specific dishes here. Firstly, this is the so-called cod brandade - a fillet casserole with mashed potatoes, milk, garlic and olive oil. Also known is the Guardian de Toro, a bovine meat stew with vegetables.
Attractions and attractions in Nimes
Today, Nim attracts, like a magnet, a huge number of tourists. One of the main reasons lies in the fact that here you can join the ancient Roman heritage without leaving one of the most charming regions of France.
The second must-see building of Nimes after the Amphitheater is Mason Carré, the “Square House”, a small Roman temple dedicated to the sons of Agrippa. It was built in 19 BC. e. and remains one of the best preserved in the territory of the former Roman Empire and in the world. Tourists can go inside and watch a short film about the history of the city.
It was Mason Carre who inspired the builders of the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.
A wonderful city park, the Fountain Gardens ("Jardin de la Fontaine"), quite obviously dates back to non-Roman times. Although it was erected on the ruins of Roman buildings: namely, the term. And Mount Cavallier, which stands on the outskirts of the city, is as if crowned by the harsh Tour Magne - the “Great Tower”. In Roman times, the tower was certainly even greater, but even now its ruins are impressive.
A single combined ticket is available for visiting the so-called Cultural spaces of Nimes. These include the Amphitheater, Mason Carré and Tour Magne - in the territory of each, various events are held throughout the year.
Against the backdrop of all these centuries-old structures, the Cathedral of Nyms seems somewhat infringed on its rights to be called a city attraction. Meanwhile, this temple, built on the site of the former Temple of Augustus, is also well worth a visit. Especially interesting in it is the combination of Gothic and Romanesque parts.
The main museum of Nimes is perhaps the Art Museum. It was founded in 1821 and was originally located in Mason Carré, but in 1907 a new building was built for the museum on Sq. Mandrake In the collections of the museum you can see objects from private collections: ancient Roman antique gizmos, paintings of old and modern masters. In total, the collection has 3,600 works distributed between the Italian exposition (Giakopo Bassano, Andrea della Robbia), the Flemish-Dutch 16th-17th centuries. (Rubens, Carl Fabricius) and French.