Forum of Trajan - History and Facts | History Hit

Forum of Trajan

Rome, Lazio, Italy

The Forum of Trajan was one of the Imperial Forums of Ancient Rome.

About Forum of Trajan

The Forum of Trajan, or ‘Foro di Traiano’, in Rome was built by the Emperor Trajan from 107 AD, then inaugurated in 112 AD. Trajan, who reigned from 98 to 117 AD, built his magnificent Forum of Trajan after emerging victorious from several military campaigns, particularly the conquest of Dacia.

History of Forum of Trajan

The crowning element of the Forum of Trajan is colonna Traiana, or ‘Trajan’s column’. Dedicated in 113 AD, yet still incredibly well preserved, this impressive structure comprises of a 98 foot column adorned with elaborate friezes chronicling the Dacian Wars. These detailed friezes document key moments of the wars, including the final expulsion of the Dacians from their native soil.

It is worth noting that the statue at the peak of Trajan’s Column is not of the emperor, but of Saint Peter, which was added by Pope Sixtus V in 1587.

Originally, the Forum of Trajan would have contained several buildings, including two libraries which would have flanked Trajan’s Column. The remains of one of these can still be discerned today near the Foro Imperiale as can some other buildings.

One of the more visible sets of remains belongs to the Basilica Ulpia, an administrative centre, the foundations, and some granite columns which are visible next to Trajan’s Column.

However, it is Trajan’s Markets, the Ancient Roman centre built in the Forum of Trajan, which forms the star attraction. The brick walls of the semi-circular structure of Trajan’s Markets stand in the centre of Rome and, whilst historians once thought that this was the Roman equivalent of a shopping centre, recent evidence suggests it may have played more of a financial or administrative role.

Forum of Trajan Today

At the moment, only the lower section of the Trajan’s Markets is open to the public, but the whole site can always be viewed from the streets above. When it is open again, visitors can walk through the hall of the red-brick structure and peer into the high-ceilinged rooms where local merchants once made their living.

Getting to Forum of Trajan

The Forum of Trajan is located close to the center of Rome. The nearest metro station is at the Colosseum, a 5-minute walk south.