Dec
14
2012
0

Appian Way (Appia Antica)

Appia AnticaThe Romans wanted to defeat every enemy that stood on their path hindering the empire’s growth and roads were built to achieve the end. Roads played significant role in moving armies, supplies, reinforcement, trade, power and wealth.

Appian way, which connects Rome to south Italy, was one of the main roads Romans desperately needed.

Appius Claudius, Roman censor, constructed dirt road with stones and mortar stretching from Rome to Capua for 200km. Part of the road was started and finished in 312 BC. The Appian to date has the longest straight road in Europe (64 km).

To mention few of the important historical events that happened on this road:

In the 71 BC, 6000 slaves were slain by the Romans after their revolt ended in defeat at the hands of the Roman Army. In the WWII, Allied Forces landed at Nettuno to capture Rome penetrating through Appian way but the Germans resisted until their defeat in 1944. And Abebe Bekila won 1960 summer olympics, that passed through this way.

Long kilometers of the Appian way are now open to the public for walking, jogging, bicycling etc.

The following monuments are found along the Appian way: Baths of Caracalla (at the start), catacomb of San Callisto and a small church (chiesa del Domine Quo Vadis) on Via Ardeatina a street that branches off Appian Way.




Adu K

Nov
23
2012
0

Villa Adriana Tivoli

villa AdrianaVilla Adriana, a UNESCO Heritage Site since 1999, continues to marvel generations that come to pass 20 centuries after it was built. On return from Egypt & Greece, Emperor Hadrian decided to make a retreat villa (from the chaotic city of Rome) similar to the architecture and worship that he learnt in the eastern section of his empire.

At the end of his reign, Hadrian had his quarters in this impressive villa of 1 sq km. There were various edifices including theatres, Greek and Latin libraries, two bathhouses, formal gardens with fountains, statues, pools, underground for servants, extensive housing for guests and the palace staff.

Today, the villa located 25 km north east of Rome, is nothing but ruins of what was once the glamour of its time.

Little remains of the original villa, because materials were reused to make Villa D’Este in the area, looted by barbarians or civilians and neglected for centuries. Though,16th century excavations brought to life parts of the villa, still large section remains unearthed.

The various sections of the complex recovered in part are: Hall of Doric Pillars (basilica), Temple of Venus, Greek Theatre, Maritime Theatre (Hadrian’s small favorite island), Hall of Philosophers (library), Heliocaminus (baths), Nymphaeum Stadium, Poecile (large garden with swimming pool), Canopus (god Serapis sanctuary with 119 m long canal decorated with statues), Large and Small Thermae (hot & cold baths) and Piazza d’Oro (formal dinning room).



Adu K


Nov
12
2012
0

St John in Lateran Basilica

sjl1A member of the Laterani family was said to have conspired against Emperor Nero, the emperor in retaliation confiscated and redistributed what belonged to the family. The Lateran Palace was among them. In the 4th century, Emperor Constantine, gave the palace to the Roman Catholics.

As it is officially called, Papal Archbasilica of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist in Lateran, was restored from its original look by Pope Sixtus V in the 16th century. He demolished the existing building and made a completely new basilica.

In the 10th century, the basilica was first dedicated to St John the Baptist and in the 12th century to St John the Evangelist. These two saints are regarded as co-patrons. But the inscription on the facade shows, Christo Salvatori, Christ the Saviour.

At present, St John, is the oldest and number one of the main four basilicas in Rome. This is a seat to the bishop of Rome, which is the Pope. But due to the workload, this basilica is run by Cardinal Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome.

Roman Catholics are convinced, this church is the mother of all churches, infact the inscription at the facade reads: Most Holy Lateran Church, of all the churches in the city and the world, the mother and head.

In St John square, stands the largest obelisk in the world, which is brought from the Karnak temple of Thebes in Egypt.

St Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine I, brought Scala Sancta to Rome. Roman Catholic church tradition tells, Jesus Christ walked the staircase before Pilate in the city of Jerusalem.



Adu K

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