Cahors Roman Amphitheatre - History and Facts | History Hit

Cahors Roman Amphitheatre

Cahors, Occitania, France

The remains of an oval amphitheatre were revealed when the underground car park was excavated at the Place Gambetta, just west of, and partially beneath, Boulevard Gambetta in the city centre.

Peta Stamper

01 Apr 2021
Image Credit: CC / MOSSOT

About Cahors Roman Amphitheatre

Cahors Roman Amphitheatre are Roman amphitheatre ruins located in Cahors, in southern France. Today, the amphitheatre provides a unique ancient character to the city’s central underground car park.

Cahors Roman Amphitheatre history

Cahors was the capital of the French province of Quercy, now Lot. It was in this region, at Uxellodunum, that the ultimate battle of the Gallic coalition against the Roman invasion happened in 51 BC. The Cadurci Celts were among the last to resist Roman conquest, however romanization was fast and the region soon became part of Rome’s Aquitana prima.

During the reign of Emperor Augustus, the Roman settlers secured their conquest through founding a town in the central territory of the Cadourques – a Gaulish tribe inhabiting the region. The Roman town was founded on a wide part of the river Lot near a spring revered by the Gauls to honour the goddess Divona. For this reason, Cahors was known as Divona Cadurcorum.

As a Roman city, Cahors thrived on commerce and supported a large number of craftsmen: Roman historians boasted of the famous Quercy linen. The city’s prestige can be seen in archeological discoveries including over fifty mosaics, a theatre, an amphitheatre, impressive baths and more. Roman amphitheatres were large rounded open-air venues used for events such as gladiator fights, animal slayings and executions. Undoubtedly, the Cahors Roman amphitheatre would have been a significant part of the city’s social landscape.

Christianity was introduced in the 4th century, and the city eventually fell back to the Franks in the 6th century, later to become part of the Duchy of Aquitaine.

Cahors Roman Amphitheatre today

Today, travel to Cahors by car to find the remains of the city’s oval amphitheatre, revealed when the underground car park was excavated at the Place Gambetta, just west of and partially beneath Boulevard Gambetta in the city centre. The stone walls can be seen in the car park first level, below the statue of Leon Gambetta, a prominent French statesman, and opened to the public in April 2009.

Getting to Cahors Roman Amphitheatre

From Toulouse where there is an airport, the amphitheatre car park is an hour and a half drive northbound on the A62 and A20. Step out of you car right onto the site of Cahors’ ancient city. If using public transport, the Gare de Cahors is on the Intercites and TER lines, and is 850m away.

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