Around the start of the second century, two galleries were added, expanding its capacity to 20,000 seats, thus opening it to the whole population of Lugdunum (Lyon).
Excavations in 1956 rediscovered the amphitheater remains we see today, including a basement with three eliptical walls and a channel surrounding the central oval. Research has also indicated that the Amphitheater of the Three Gauls was the site of the martyrdoms of Pothinus (the first bishop of Gaul) and Saint Blandina in 177 AD at the instigation of Emporer Marcus Aurelius.
In 1961, the Amphitheater of the Three Gauls was classified as an historic monument.
“TRABOULES” - Most of the streets located on La Croix-Rousse Hill are long and winding, making it difficult for Lyon’s inhabitants living on the hill to gain access to the town’s fresh water supply located at the foot of the hill. Some evidence exists that as far back as the 4th century, “TRABOULES” (an apparent corruption of the Latin “Trans-ambulare” meaning “to pass through”) were developed to provide folks more direct access to the foot of the hill. These passages wind through buildings, stairwells, and courtyards and each seem to be different from the others - often decorated with pastel colors.
Lyon’s silk industry began to develop between the late 15th and early 16th centuries, receiving a major boost in 1540 when King Francis I granted the city a monopoly on raw silk imports into France. Much of the silk factories were located on or near the top of La Croix-Rousse Hill, while the textile merchants that sold the finished products were located at the foot of the hill. Because of this, the silk workers - known as “canuts” - found it very difficult to carry their heavy loads down the hill’s windy streets to the merchants that would sell their products. The Canuts discovered that by using the TRABOULES, their efforts were made easier.
There are over 400 of these secret passages still in existence on La Croix Rousse Hill, however only 40 are open to the public. During World War II many of the TRABOULES were utilized by the French Resistance for secret meetings, none of which were ever discovered by the occupying Nazis.
We had a grand time finding some of the public access Traboules while exploring all that La Croix-Rousse had to offer.