Relive the Gallo-Roman era at the ancient theater of Mandeure
What could be better than taking advantage of your vacation or weekend in Montbéliard to discover the largest theater of the Gauls in France?
Located only 15 minutes from the ancient castle of Mandeure, our hotel La Vieille Ferme near Montbéliard welcomes you for a tourist stay in the region Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.
Discovering the theater
Let's go back to the Antiquity to discover the city of Mandeure and its ancient theater. The city was at the time a Roman city of considerable importance, extending over almost 200 hectares.
The theater in the heart of the city is a real jewel of antiquity and was not isolated because it was part of a cult area. Within this area were included at least two large temples, secondary places of worship as well as buildings to comfortably accommodate pilgrims.
Two centuries of excavations and research
It is in 1820 that the research works are led by Frederic Morel-Macler and was one of the first theaters excavated in France. It is thus during nearly 2 centuries that research and excavations took place.
Strong of its history, this castle was built a first time in 41 after J.C. by the emperor Claude, then destroyed and rebuilt many times. It is during the IInd century after J.C. that the theater acquires an impressive monumentality. Finally, under the reign of the emperors of the Severan dynasty in 192-232 AD that the ancient theater will take its form as well as its definitive dimensions!
The decorations of the ancient theater
The theater has two semicircular facades which became after each reconstruction larger. The scenic device was adapted to the forms that the spectacles and ceremonies took.
One could sit on one of the four rows of terraces, crowned by a portico at the top of the theater. Here, the scenic device included a masonry platform in large apparatus.
Concerning the front of the stage, it takes a little imagination. Decorated with luxurious veneers of colored marble, with columns on each side of the central doors.
A classified theater since 1964
Classified as a historical monument since 1964, it is the second largest in Gaul, equivalent to 142 meters in diameter. The entirety of its decorations was comparable to those of the largest Roman monuments of spectacle.
It is also in the museum of the National Antiquities of Saint-Germain-en-Laye or the museum of the castle of the dukes of Wurtemberg in Montbéliard that you will be able to admire many objects preserved, like objects of offering and sacrifice, testifying to the vitality of the sanctuary which could be found on the site.
A discovery that will make it the "largest theater in Gaule
It was in 2018, after excavation work during the summer, that the foundations of a 7-meter concentric wall on top of the theater were discovered. This marvelous site was thus revalued by research and the specialists are thus formal, the ancient theater of Mandeure beats from now on the record of the largest Gallo-Roman theaters in France!
Want to discover the ancient theater of Mendeure?
The access is free all year long, rue du Théâtre in Mandeure.