Mainz Travel Tip:
The Mainz Roman Amphitheater

The Mainz Roman Amphitheater
Roman Amphitheater

Mainz, Germany began in the first century BC as a Roman military outpost. During the time of the Roman Empire, the town was named Mogontiacum and was founded by Drusus, a Roman general, in 13 BC. The first two things the Romans did when they moved into a new area were build a theatre and baths. These constructions are in tribute to their love of cleanliness and entertainment. The Mainz Roman amphitheater had the largest stage and auditorium north of the Alps. This may be because of the importance of the town at the confluence of the Rhine and Main rivers.

Built for a Large City

The Mainz Roman amphitheater was discovered in the early 20th century near the Mainz-South railway station. When completed, it could seat over 10,000 people and the proportions of the theater were enormous. Engineers were able to approximate the measurements by the size of the supporting beams.

The stage, at that time, was 42 meters (136.5 feet) wide, and the area where the audience sat was 116 meters (377 feet) wide. This is about one and a half football fields. It is ten times larger than the main theater in Mainz today and two and a half times larger than the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. It is believed that the theater was created for pageantry and spectacle rather than musicals, light comedy or frivolous entertainment.

The History of the Mainz Roman Aphiteater

The city was used by the Roman Legions until about 350 AD. In the fourth century, the walls of the theater were rebuilt. The vaults of the theater lasted for centuries and from the sixth century they were used as burial catacombs for monks from several nearby monasteries. These burial sites were seen recently during excavation. The last time the theater is mentioned in writings is by Gozwin in the 11th century. In 1660, the Citadel of Mainz was built nearby and the theater was forgotten until the early 20th century.

In 1884, the railroad was being constructed in the area and the foundations of the stage house were found, measured and demolished to make room for the South Railway Station. At that time, the wall stones found were not thought to be connected to the ancient theater. Only in 1914, the art historian Ernst Neeb recognized the stone stage as a Roman theater. The site was excavated in 1916 and his claims were confirmed.

Today, there are music and theater events that bring the ancient stones alive after more than 2000 years.

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Address: Brueckenturm am Rathaus, 55116 Mainz
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With a population of almost 200,000, Mainz is located on the western bank of the Rhine River, opposite the confluence of the Main River with the Rhine. Mainz was a politically important seat of the Prince-Elector of Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire,…

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