The other name of this ancient building is Flavian Amphitheatre. When Colloseum was built (70-80 AD) it was the biggest construction in Roman Empire, and was frequently used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. It could fit up to 50 000 spectators at once, allowing them to enjoy impressive ancient shows. It is believed that over 500 000 people and more than a million animals died there.
Over the years Colloseum suffered destructions: first it was damaged by a lightning-caused fire in 3D century. Later on, the marble from the original building has been used for building other sites, including St Peter’s Basilica. An earthquake added effect to its bad condition. Only in 19th century it was decided to restore the building to save it for future generations.
Until now Colloseum is a unique symbol of the city, and one of the most popular tourist sights. It also has close connections with the Catholic Church, and every Friday the Pope leads a torchlit ‘Way of the Cross’ procession around the various levels of the amphitheatre.