A little history of Saintes amphitheatre
The old city of Mediolanum, the most important city of Aquitaine, has got several Roman monuments... We are here in a very old city, founded in 30 BC by Agrippa, who laid out the big road linking up Lyon to Aquitaine and to Saintes.
Put up in the reign of emperor Augustus, the theatre, a vast ellipse (133 metres long and 108 metres wide), was located in the western city. Row of seats were raised on the hillside: the theatre could welcome 20 000 spectators, on three rows!
We still can see the podium, a kind of terrace on which magistrates stood; animals were released from the two boxes, to the West and East, in order to fight against the gladiators.
In 1849, city of Saintes owned the ruins and restored them.
By the way, did you notice? On the Southern side, we can see a small fountain, dedicated to saint Eustelle, saint Eutrope's favourite disciple, first bishop of the city. Young ladies used to go here and made a wish in order to get wed within a year...