Porte de Mars
Historic Site in Reims
Porte de Mars stands as an ancient Roman triumphal arch situated in Reims, France. Dating back to the third century AD, it holds the distinction of being the widest arch within the Roman world.
This monumental edifice, the Mars Gate, hails from the initial years of the 3rd century and remains as the sole survivor among four gates that once granted passage to the Gallo-Roman settlement recognized as Durocortorum. This arch, spanning 32 meters in length and ascending to a height of 13 meters, showcases three expansive arched openings. Its appellation is derived from its proximity to a nearby temple dedicated to Mars. Evidencing intricate craftsmanship, the exterior of the arch and the ceilings within its three passageways are adorned with a plethora of highly detailed carvings. These include depictions of figures like Romulus and Remus, laborers, and Leda and the swan.
According to local legend, the inhabitants of Reims erected the arch as an expression of gratitude when the Romans introduced significant roads through their city. Initially integrated into the archbishops’ castle in 1228, the castle’s demise in 1595 led to the arch being preserved as part of the city walls, its openings sealed off. Rediscovered in 1667, it was fully unveiled only during the dismantling of the city walls between 1844 and 1854.
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