Rome reopens the Mausoleum of Augustus, the Emperor of Christmas

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The Gospel of St. Luke explains that Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken, and that is why Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.

Now, just before Christmas, Rome’s city officials announced that this emperor’s tomb will be opened once again.

Mayor of Rome

“To reopen a monument like this is also a gesture of hope: to look with confidence at a future that is still uncertain because of the developments of the pandemic. We must already work and build for the future because no matter what, we will adapt to change.”

The mausoleum was built in the year 28, as the tomb of Emperor Augustus and his family. Therefore, Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius were also buried here.

At the center, the burial chamber was reconstructed but still retains many original elements. It is the largest circular tomb in the world.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the building was used for many purposes over the centuries.

Superintendent of Rome

“During the Middle Ages it was a fortress; in the Renaissance, an Italian garden, with plants that followed the layout of the mausoleum; during the years of the 'grand tour,' it hosted bullfights and fireworks; at the beginning of the 20th century it was a concert hall run by Toscanini.”

Workers are racing against the clock because the mausoleum will open to the public on March 1.

As of April, it will feature a virtual reality display in order to show the mausoleum’s original appearance when it was first built.

This is a possible reconstruction.

This is undoubtedly one of the most impressive architectural works in the history of mankind, both then and now.

Javier Martínez-Brocal
Translation: Christian Campos

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