The Colosseum

Which of the following landmarks is located in the capital of Italy?

And the answer: The Colosseum.

Built between the years 72 and 80 A.D., the Colosseum is an amphitheater located in the center of Rome Italy. With an estimated average audience of 65,000 people, the Colosseum was used for gladiator contests, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.

The Colosseum, quite literally, stands to represent the heart of Imperial Rome. Constructed in the exact center of the city, the stadium's walls have been adapted and sometimes even reshaped by consequent rulers, cultures and inhabitants of the ancient city. Throughout its some 2,000 years of history, it has been a center for celebration, contest, worship and more. For example, under the authority of Pope Benedict XIV, the massive structure was designated a sacred site of the martyrdom of large numbers of believers during the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. Conversely, yet another pope, Pope Sixtus V, made plans to capitalize on the large space by turning it into a wool factory. Fortunately, the ancient landmark survived longer than his plans, as the idea expired upon the pope's premature death.

The amphitheater housed some of the most extreme displays of entertainment known to the Roman Empire. Accounts of the inaugural games held by Roman emperor Titus in 80 A.D. describe the stadium being filled with water for a display of specially trained swimming horses and bulls. To this day, it is unclear how the arena could have been waterproofed. Some argue that the reports either have the location wrong, or that the Colosseum originally featured a wide floodable channel down its central axis (which would later have been replaced by the series of tunnels below, the hypogeum).

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