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8 agosto 2022

Route of Caesaraugusta (II): The Roman Theater of Zaragoza is the largest theater in Spain

The streets of the Old Town of Zaragoza trace the history of ancient Caesaraugusta in a very educational museum route. Just a few minutes walk away, you can visit the Forum Theater, the Museum of the River Port, the Museum of the Public Baths and the Theater Museum. The latter is one of the best preserved, the largest in Spain discovered to date and the only theater in Hispania to house a pit under its stage.

Zaragoza is the only Roman city that had the privilege of bearing the full name of the Emperor Caesar Augustus and received the rank of immune colony of Roman citizens. Its vestiges of the imperial era are a treasure and are collected in a route of museums that can be done on foot: Museum of the Forum, Museum of the River Port, Museum of the Public Baths, Museum of the Theater (the best preserved). It is a historical but very didactic route, perfect for the whole family. A trip back in time to know the political center and the most emblematic buildings.

The Roman Theater of Zaragoza is the largest theater in Spain discovered to date. In addition, it is doubly special in its kind since it is the only one in Hispania that housed a pit under the stage in order to shelter the stage machinery and allow access to the actors at certain times of the play. Built in the first century A.D., the infrastructure had a capacity of 6,000 spectators in a city of about 18,000 inhabitants. These figures reflect the great importance of theatrical performances in Roman life.

Construction began in the time of Emperor Tiberius (14-37 A.D.), following the model of the Marcellus Theater in Rome, and the works lasted until the rule of Claudius (41-54 A.D.). In the 3rd century A.D. it was abandoned as a show building. Later, after the conquest of Zaragoza by Alfonso I the Battler in 1118, the area became the axis of the Jewish quarter. In the 18th century the remains of the Roman theater of Caesaraugusta were buried under dwellings and it was not until 1972 that they were discovered when work began on Veronica Street.

The Theater Museum is divided into four levels of visit, counting the archaeological site of the theater along with an explanatory museum.

First floor of the museum

Here there is a permanent exhibition hall, dedicated to the discovery of the theater and the excavations that were carried out for more than 30 years to bring it completely to light and make it visitable.

Particularly noteworthy is the exhibition of a fragment of a sculpture corresponding to a large female torso, sculpted in white marble from the French Pyrenees. Such are the dimensions of the statue that it is identified with the Goddess Rome, symbol of the Roman state and people.

Basement floor, the history of the Theater

On this level is located the permanent exhibition of the Roman Theater of Caesaraugusta composed of an exhibition of several models that allow the reconstruction of the ancient building. In this area you can see different architectural, decorative and functional elements discovered during the excavations of the theater. In addition, in the audiovisual room you can learn the complete history of the theater in a very entertaining and entertaining documentary.

Archaeological remains of the theater

The walkway located at the height where the Romans walked, serves as a guide through the main remains of the archaeological site. One of the interesting points that you can not miss on this route is the pulpitum, the stage of the ancient theater that still retains part of its original marble floor. As well as the arch that was used as access to the stands. The information panels arranged throughout the site will help you imagine in your mind the show and feel like another Roman.

Second floor

If you want to get a closer look at what daily life was like in this environment, the second floor offers an exhibition of the main aspects of the Romans. Among them are the objects used in the performances, such as the props used by the actors at the time.

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