The amphitheatre has 33 rows of seats; in Roman times the actors were all men. The arena, was built on two levels, where 20,000 people could watch blood sports, gladiators pitted against wild animals. The site was in use until the end of the 5th C. Then the Barbarians moved into Roman buildings, living inside the arena. They utilized stones from Roman buildings to make their own.
In medieval times, the 5th to 9th C, Arles was invaded by Visigoths, Barbarians and Saracens, which sent the city into decline. Yet, throughout the Middle Ages, it became a centre for Jewish scholars, translators and philosophers.
Most of us associate Arles with one of the art world’s most famous sons, the Dutch post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. He lived in the city from 1888 to1889. A great admirer of the Provencal landscape, he produced hundreds of paintings and drawings in the region, including some of his most famous: Night Café, Starry Night, L’Arlesienne and Over the Rhone.
We lingered in the garden courtyard of the Old Arles Hospital where Vincent spent time during his mental illness, now named, L’espace Van Gogh. Decorated in yellow as in the painting, the building is now a centre for his work including several masterpieces. Everywhere in the streets one sees replicas of his work.
People used elements from Roman buildings in their houses or embellished them with ancient fragments from that time
Cameras clicked at these umbrellas displayed above the street. I waited to capture the reflections in windshields and bonnets of passing cars.