Viva Espana: Day 21 – A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum

I had cool plans for my last day in Zaragoza. I was going to the origami museum, and on my way there, I spotted a museum that had exhibitions on Dali and the 40th anniversary of the creation of Aragon.

This was shaping up to be a very geeky day out.

You’ll note the past tense.

The origami museum is only open on Saturday this week – guess who leaves on Friday. Apparently, my visit coincides with the quarterly exhibition change over. (Same story with La Lonja earlier this week). The other museum, the Sabasto Palace, despite a sign saying it was open on Thursdays 11am-2pm, wasn’t.

I headed to Tourist Information to see if there was some event on in town today. I’d noticed far more police (mounted and on foot) than I’d seen on previous days.

All of the museums are open today,” I was told.
“The origami museum isn’t,” I said, and before I could continue, I was told: “No, but all the others are.”
“And what about the Palcio Sabasto?” I asked (knowing that it wasn’t open by 11.20am but now wondering if it would open in the afternoon).
Oh, it’s open,” came the confident assertion… until his colleague tapped him on the shoulder and corrected him
Oh, yeah, well that IS closed today,” he announced as if we hadn’t told him. “Everything else is open.”

Was there anything else he could help me with? Unlike the vast majority of Tourist Information Offices around the planet… I didn’t have a lot of confidence in the information being provided.

The only other museums I hadn’t yet visited were the Roman museums, so I headed to the Forum… wondering if they would be accepting visitors.

They were.

Caesaraugusta was the only Roman city that had the privilege of bearing the full name of its founder, Caesar Augustus. It is thought to bave been founded in 14 BC, the exact date possibly being 23rd December (how would that have been worked out?), coinciding with the 54th birthday of the Emperor (ohhhh). 

Caesaraugusta received the status of a tribute-exempt colony of Roman citizens.
During the 1st and 2nd century, the city experienced a period of significant public building, including the Forum, the Port, Public Baths and the Theatre. These mark the areas in which the colomy’s commercial, economic,
political, social, cultural and religious activities took place.

All of the Roman buildings are now underground – in varying degrees of preservation. The Forum and the Theatre have the most interesting exhibits, though the theatre is probably my favourite of all of the sites.

The theatre stood at the highest point of the
Roman city, where it dominated the axis of a
city plan that included the river harbour, the
forum, the public baths, and a porticoed
square adjacent to the theatre itself.

Regarded as one of the largest in Hispania, with a diameter of 105 m. and a capacity for some 6,000 spectators. It was modelled on the theatre in Rome, built by Pompeius, and later improved by Marcellus.

Its construction was begun during Tiberius’ reign (14-37 A.D.), when the ring and radial walls were erected to support the inclined plane of the upper part of the cavea or stands, as well as the platform of the stage. The material used was opus caementicium.

And that should keep the pub quiz fans satisfied for the next Roman History Round down The Jockey.

Categories: Spain, Travel, ZaragozaTags: , , , , , , , , ,
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