on February 26, 2009
Ah, the Roman Forum. There is no place quite like this in the world. This small, quiet area, not a more than an acre, which is set down from the bustling modern city of Rome, appears to be nothing more than deteriorating marble and massive rocks strewn about. But it is here, where the cobblestone paths wind awkwardly through ancient foundations, that the city of Rome, in its empirical heyday, domineered almost all of Europe and vast portions of Africa and Asia as well. The Forum, which held buildings such as the Curia, or the Roman Senate, more than 2500 years ago today stands in a state of demise, and there is little more left of it then the foundation and a dilapidated wall. Several temples to the polytheistic Romans now line the edges of the forum, but all left standing epically are a few columns here and there. It takes a bit of imagination when walking through this ancient city to really comprehend the magnitude of where you are standing. No matter how much of history buff one is, I doubt that anybody will ever be able to truly feel what was like to be here thousands of years ago, when this place was in its prime. This was the epicenter of European society, the marketplace for the civilians, the senate house for elite magistrates and the place of worship for the people of Rome. This is undoubtedly a place of inconceivable magnitude that should not be skipped over.So now a little bit about the place now-a-days. The Forum is set down from the main road adjacent to it but is still entirely surrounded by the bustles of the modern city. There is a small fee to get into the Forum to walk around inside. Its not quite as big as you may have pictured it to be, but is still grand in magnitude and historical significance. All around are crumbling foundations random pillars around in the center of the plot and the around the outside are the larger remnants of buildings. Some are surprisingly still in contact, most likely because they were constructed many years after some of the others. Some buildings, however, have been completely lost forever.There are really no words to describe this place. The Forum is just so jam packed with history that it would take days to even have a remote idea of all that has happened on these ancient walkways. I do have some advice about visiting the Forum. First and foremost, invest in some kind of guide. Where it is just some book or an all out tour guide, you really need some one there to show you around and get you familiar with the basic history of it. Otherwise, it just seems like a pile of rubble in the middle of a sprawling, traffic burdened metropolis. My second piece of advice it to take your time. Really stop to look at the buildings. Just try to picture what this place means to the history of the world. It may not seem like it now, but this was once the ultimate seat of Europe. This small area is to this day, the center of what was the most powerful city in the history of the world. So really, just slow down. Pull your self away from the hectic tourist currents, and just give it a shot. Try to imagine the prestige, the glory and sheer the magnitude of where you stand. It is simply overwhelming and utterly wonderful all in the same.
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