Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Trajan's Market: Overlooked jewel in the heart of Rome

On a heavily trafficked street where few tourists pass in the heart of ancient Rome lies the entrance to one of the Eternal City's most extraordinary and overlooked monuments -- Trajan's Market.

Built in the second century AD as a series of vaulted offices for managers of the nearby Trajan Forum headed up by a "procurator", the architectural complex has served as a fortress, a convent and a barracks over the centuries.

Clinging to a hillside that overlooks the Roman Forum, the nearly 2,000-year-old monument offers spectacular views over the Colosseum.

The site is often referred to as the "world's oldest shopping mall," but its name is something of a misnomer as it was never the main market of Imperial Rome, site director Lucrezia Ungaro told AFP.

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