Nîmes notes

a picture diary from a Roman town in the south of France


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Statue of Emperor Augustus

statue_augusteThe bronze statue of Emperor Augustus, or Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD), is located in the premises of the Porte d’Auguste (hence the naming of the gate).

The statue is a copy of a statue in Vatican, and it was bought by the city in 1934. Rumours, that it was a gift by Mussolini and that the Germans had melted it, are false (so it says here).


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Porte d’Auguste, seen from inside

portedaugusteThe European Heritage Day’s are unfortunately always  at the same time as the autumn feria of Nîmes. So, I never remember it, or, have no time to go to see any of the places usually closed to public. This time I did see one, though.

While I was waiting for the folklore parade to start, I went to see the Roman city gate of Porte d’Auguste from inside. Normally you can’t get in (it’s surrounded by fences), but now the small gate was open, and you could stroll around in your own pace. A few people in additition to myself had noticed it.

The lens I had in my camera gave no choice of a wider view, so this time the picture is just of one of the main gateways. In total there are four: two main gates in the middle and two side gates. And what is interesting, is to see how much lower the original city used to be!


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Porte d’Auguste at night

porte d'auguste at nightIn the Roman times this was the main entrance to the city of Nemausus. The bigger archs are for vehicules, smaller ones for pedestrians. As you can imagine already from this picture, the city of Nemausus was about half a meter lower in the ground than today’s Nîmes. The next picture gives you another angle:

porte d'auguste, from insideFrom here started the Via Domitia, or the Domitian Way, to Rome. You can imagine the traffic of those days… All the people, who have passed these gates!

The Porte d’August, also known as Porte d’Arles, was named after Augustus, who introduced the city walls to Nemausus in 15 BC. In the 14th century, it was incorporated in the fortress, which again was destroyed during the Revolution. To prevent any further damage, the Roman Gate was listed in the very first list of Monument Historique of 1840.