Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vesunna - A Roman town

Vesunna is the original Roman name for the town that is now known a Perigueux, capitol of the Perigord region of France. The map above shows why it was a very important Roman stronhold. The area circled in blue is the original size of the Roman town. The map should enlarge if it is clicked on. As can be seem this area of Perigueux is still called Vesone, which must date back to Roman times. Being surrounded by the river on all sides apart from the north, it was a good place to defend.
Heading south the first thing that you see is the temple. This has part of the wall missing and the outer columns but considering it has stood for 2000 years, it is still in quite good shape.
Moving around to the south, you can see how substantial the walls were and still are.

The park that surrounds the area has many pieces of stone work laying around, this bit was the cap of one of the roman columns. Much of these stones would have been robbed out in times to come to build the middle age city walls and even private dwellings.
These next three pictures show the fantastic museum which was built over the Roman villa which was excavated next too the tower. Beside the floors and foundations within are many displays of tools, jewelery and other artifacts.

The next two pictures show a part of a ruined 11th century castle which has parts of decorated roman stones and columns in the debris.

This may look like a pretty park in the area and it is, but it is also the site of the amphitheater. It was built during the reign of Emperor Tiberius sometime between 14 and 37 AD. It was one of the largest ever built in Gaul (Roman France). It had a capacity of around 20,000 people.
The center of the park is now very quiet and peaceful, but when you consider what used to happen here during the games 2000 years ago, it makes you ponder.

As can be seen from the pictures above there is still quite a bit of the amphitheater remaining, and people use these old entrances to access the park. Many of them probably don't give a second thought to who has passed that way in the past.
Entrance to the museum costs €5.50 for an adult but I spent 3 hours there and still want to go back. The temple and the amphitheater are in public places and so are free.
I also took loads of pictures of the medieval parts of Perigueux today but there is so much that I will make another post of that in a few days.


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