Aurelian Wall, Rome Built to prevent attacks on the city of Rome, the Aurelian Wall incorporates a number of historic buildings. Building a Wall After nearly five centuries of unopposed domination, Emperor Aurelian of Rome (270-275 AD) recognized the threat from Germanic tribes near the borders of the Roman Empire, and he decided it was time to build a wall to protect the city. The city had long outgrown its old Republican Wall, which was built in the 3rd century BC. Until the 3rd century AD, Rome's power was so strong that the city did not feel the need for a protective wall. The Aurelian Wall was 19 kilometer long (12 mile) and about 6 meter high (20 feet) 3.5 meters thick (11.5 feet). The wall included a square tower about every 30m (about 100 feet). It also featured many grand gates including the Porta Latina and Porta San Sebastiano which were covered by arches and protected by semi-circular towers. Just a quarter of a century later, Emperor Maxentius found it necessary to further enforce the wall, and by the early 5th century, Emperor Honorius doubled its height and raised and strengthened its towers. Byzantine general Belisarius made yet more improvements during the 6th century. The wall continued to defend the city until 1870, when the Bersaglieri of the Kingdom of Italy breached the fortress near the Porta Pia and captured Rome. Remnants of the Wall The uniqueness of the Aurelian Wall includes the fact that several buildings are incorporated into the structure. This was done to save time and allow the wall to be built at a lower cost.turkeyarena.com Existing buildings included within the wall include Castel Sant'Angelo, originally Hadrian's Mausoleum; Amphitheatrum Castrense, a 2nd century Roman amphitheater built of brick; the Pyramid of Cestius, an Egyptian-style pyramid built in 12 BC as a tomb for Caius Cestius, a member of one of the four great religious corporations of early Rome; and a section of the Aqua Claudia aqueduct, which was built to supply several of the Roman districts with water. Today, about two-thirds of the Aurelian Wall remains intact and quite well preserved. Visitors can head to the Museo delle Mura, near the San Sebastian gate, to learn more about the history of the wall and what they’ll find on a tour of the structure.