In 64 A.D. a devastating fire happened in Rome. As a result, at the heart of the city there appeared a place for the construction of a giant palace that the emperor Nero dreamt about. The palace was laid down on the slopes of the Esquiline and the Palatine, close to the Roman Forum (on the site of the Coliseum). It is known as the Domus Aurea or the Golden House of Nero. It was the biggest palace in Europe after the Forbidden City in China.
Nero who came to power with the help of his mother Agrippina in 54 A.D., after the assassination of the emperor Claudius, was very unpopular in the country. There were even rumors that he had the city burnt to clear a place for his palace. And by the end of the 60th the rule of Nero turned into a kind of despotism, which led to the uprising of legions in Gaul. To avoid imprisonment Nero killed himself in 68 A.D.
The Domus Aurea was nearly completed by the end of the rule of Nero. A giant palace was in the center of the complex. Its golden dome was decorated with precious stones. The palace was surrounded by gardens and lakes. The total area of the palace and park complex was about 100 hectares. According Suetonius, ancient Roman historian, the length of the porticos of side walls of the palace exceeded 1.5 km. The Colossus of Nero, giant bronze statue of the emperor, was installed in the inner court of the Golden House. The height of the statue was 37 m.
Vespasian was the next emperor after Nero. In 70 A.D. he decided to build the Coliseum and most part of the Golden House was pulled down to clear a place for it. However, the Colossus of Nero stood in front of the Coliseum for many years. Some historians even thought that the Coliseum was so called because of the statue.
To our days there survived only small fragments of the Golden House to the north from the Coliseum, near the Roman Forum. But the most interesting complex of the underground rooms of the Golden House is to the south from the Coliseum, on the Esquiline. They were accidentally discovered in 15 century. During the excavations there were cleared out 30 of 150 rooms.
In the passages the height of ceiling exceeds 15-20 м. Frescoes remained on some walls. All this gives some idea about the scale of the palace of Nero, as well as about construction technologies the Romans used to erect such magnificent buildings at the turn of millennia.