Le Temple de Diane
Located in the city of Nîmes, at the top of the boulevard Jean Jaurès, in the Garden “Le Jardin de la Fontaine”, the enigmatic and romantic ruins of the Temple of Diane are something you must see. To access this monument you will have to go to the West side of the garden, just nearby the West gate. Dated from the very early Roman era, the exact purpose of this temple and the exact date when it was build up remain quite unknown, especially because there is no clear spiritual principles symbolically represented in the temple and the architecture is somehow confusing especially the basilica design of the main 15 meters high archway that may suggest that it was not a Roman temple. Believed by most people to have been built up as a temple named after a very local deity, some people say it was dedicated to several gods, some others also say it was just build up as library.
As per the very few drawings and texts that we got since the Roman era it is highly possible that the Temple de Diane was a sacred place. A sacred place that the Roman integrated to the “Augusteum” by building next to it a big pond with the semicircular stairs just at the location of the mystical source of water.
At the end of the Roman Empire the temple is left and finally get covered by the alluvium. It became a Convent Church of the Benedictine Monastery of St. Savior “Saint-Sauveur de la Fontaine” (de Fonte Nemausensi) in 991. Despite being partially destroyed in 1577 during the Wars of Religion the temple de Diane was somehow well-preserved.
Whatever the history of this monuments, its origins or its real purpose, just take the time to discover this enigmatic place and have a look at the small tunnels, Corinthian pilasters, passageways, vaulted ceilings, arches and sculpted walls. Do not hesitate to pass under the tunnel that leads to the second floor behind the temple.
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