STA, 18 August 2022 - Ptuj will be turning into Roman Poetovio for four days starting on Thursday as the 15th Roman Games get under way in what is Slovenia's oldest city. Nearly 800 costumed actors from six countries will represent life and customs from 2,000 years ago, when the city was a major trade and craft centre.
Gladiators, legionaries, senators, vestal virgins and other ancient Roman characters will fill the town and the Roman Camp Poetovio in the Štuki borough.
After two years with a scaled down programme and without visitors, the Roman Games are returning in full splendour, the organisers have announced.
They pointed out that around 7,000 visitors had been recorded in 2019 and spoke of the largest presentation of antiquity in this part of Europe.
Starting off things will be a space dedication ceremony and an evening party at the Poetovio Roman Camp. On Friday, there will be a children's camp with creative workshops and an evening spectacle in the Roman theatre acquired last year.
The main event will take place on Saturday in the form of a morning procession through the streets of Ptuj featuring all the participants of the games. Groups from abroad will take part and a gladiator fight is expected as well.
At noon the archaeological park Panorama will be the scene of a horse-drawn carriage race, before the action moves back to the camp, where the programme includes a demonstration of Roman crafts and a Roman dinner.
Sunday is family day and visitors will have the chance to enjoy themselves in the Roman way until 5pm, when the closing ceremony will take place with a dedication of the main pillar for the 16th Roman Games.
Poetovio, first mentioned in a written record 1,950 years ago, had more than 40,000 inhabitants, including some 10,000 soldiers. It was the biggest city in the region.
Poetovio established itself as a trade nexus due to its location along the ancient Amber Road trade route. It also prided itself on having its own mints as well as customs and tax offices.