The Forum – a meeting place. Gatherings were held here for community and political reasons. Basically, a fancy town square, as well as a downtown shopping district. Too bad modern meeting halls aren’t open air gathering spots with towering columns. Architecture like this has a life force that makes you want to be there… even in the antique stage of its existence.
To keep your place on the map – even though I don’t have one to share here – the photo below shows where the forum is in comparison to the Temple of Zeus and other sites already mentioned. The forum was behind me as I took this photo. The stairs lead over the arch/bridge we saw near the entry doors to the Temple of Zeus – the entry hall being down other stairs (not seen) to my right, on the forum-side of the stairs in the photo. These steps lead up to the ruins on the hill of the actual Temple of Zeus. We haven’t been too close to that site as it was fenced off last time, and we explored in a different direction on this visit. The larger of the two theatres is up there as well. In this photo you also see the South Gate in the distance – beyond which you would walk to get to the hippodrome, Hadrian’s Arch, and the modern entry for us tourists – and you can even see the tape where they’ve blocked off where the old path/ramp to the gate used to be, but which is now a new work in progress (or rather, an old work in progress!)
One of the things I like about the forum is, that it is quite simply, inviting. The kids are drawn to it. It begs you to wander, sit, play… even just walk the perimeter a couple of times. Here’s a photo of the kids in the forum – true, you can barely see them, but this is proof of what I’m saying. They were drawn up the stairs and out there, chasing each other and picking up rocks. Our kids weren’t the only ones either, a couple of local boys even had a soccer game going.
I can only wonder what this expanse of paving stones looked like when it was flat and new. It’s still massive and very impressive, but to have seen it when it was precisely laid out and in its prime would have been a grand sight. I think that, although I’m trying my best(!), these photographs simply cannot capture the presence of this area, its physical, or even historical, weight. My camera is not big enough!
My exploring buddy. I can’t help it that I got more photos of Honor this trip, she stuck by my side (mostly), as Brian ran off, and all over the place, with his visiting friend.
A view down the Cardo, or colonnaded street, heading north towards the Temple of Artemis.
A look out on the hill at all the puzzle pieces yet to be explored.
We enjoyed a beautiful sunset as we returned through the forum on the way out. There was a partial slice of a vertical rainbow, to the left side of the sun, that our companion labeled a sun dog. Very pretty, but my camera did not manage to capture it.