The archaeological site of the Pompeii excavations, not far from the Gulf of Naples, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Pompeii, once a thriving Roman city, was covered by about six meters of ash and pumice during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.
The Basilica was the most magnificent public building in the Forum and served for business and justice. Dating back to around the 2nd century BC, it is one of the oldest examples of a Roman basilica. It extends for 1500 square meters and is accessed from five entrances through the Forum.
Facts & Trivia
The Basilica replaced the Forum in adverse weather conditions: it was therefore an indoor Forum. Its structure is very similar to that of a Greek temple. It is preceded by a portico. Five steps allow access to the actual basilica with a facade characterized by four columns of the Ionic order that were about eleven meters high. Inside, it is divided into three naves, with two rows of columns with Ionic capitals. The central nave was surrounded by twenty-eight columns. The podium located along the western side, about two meters high, was accessed by a wooden staircase. The place, reserved for magistrates, could only be reached by a mobile wooden staircase, to prevent them from being attacked by defendants.