Chester Roman Amphitheatre

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Chester Roman Amphitheatre

Chester Roman Amphitheatre

History

Chester Roman Amphitheatre was built in the late first century AD, when many such buildings were being constructed throughout the Roman Empire. It lay just outside the south-east corner of the Roman legionary fortress, and was probably used both for entertainments and for practising troop manoeuvres and weapon training.

Only about two-fifths of the oval amphitheatre is visible; the rest lies unexcavated behind the brick wall. In the excavated part, two entrances have been exposed: the larger lies on the long axis to the north, while the smaller lies on the short axis to the east. Lining the arena is the original stone wall, although, owing to later removal, some sections are missing and there is modern concrete backing.

Excavations in the 1960s suggested that the building was originally constructed entirely of wood, but further archaeological investigation in 2001 cast doubt on this theory. The stone structure seen today had an outer wall 9 feet (2.7 metres) thick, marked out by concrete slabs set in the grass. Inside it ran a corridor linking the entrances that led to stairways taking the spectators up into the seating area.

There are many shops, food outlets and facilities nearby in the city centre, and the grounds of the amphitheatre are a great spot for a picnic.

Address & Map

Chester Roman Amphitheatre, Vicar’s Lane, Chester, CH1 2HS

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