The main purpose of the Coliseum was to provide a grand amphitheater where the people of Rome could go for various forms of public entertainment, including gladiatorial combats and fights between wild animals. It was a gift from Emperor Vespasian to the Roman people. The building of the Roman Coliseum took nearly 10 years, and it was opened officially in 80 A.D. by Vespasian's son Titus.
The Coliseum measured 190 by 155 meters and was a freestanding building. It had a seating capacity of approximately 50,000. Besides gladiatorial combats and wild animals fighting, other forms of entertainment were mock naval battles and hunts.
By the 6th century A.D., the Coliseum was no longer used for public entertainment. In later centuries, it became a quarry where portions of this massive structure were used for other building projects. Although only about one-third of the original Coliseum remains today, it is still a tourist attraction.