- Location:Papua, most eastern part of Indonesia
- Attraction Type: Valley
- Significance: Primitive culture and Dani civilization
- Best Time to Visit: Any time of the year, or specially during August or September when Baliem festival is celebrated
- How to Reach: Fly to Jayapura, the capital of West Papua and then proceed with the pioneer flights to Wamena, the capital town in Baliem Valley
- Nearest Airport: Wamena Airport
Off late, the Baliem Valley has become quite popular among the tourists from all parts of the world. Located in the central highland of Western New Guinea, the Baliem Valley lies about 1800 m above the sea level, and is surrounded by a crest of mountains, some of which may reach up to the hieght of 4500 m. The valley 60 km in length and 30 km in width, is the hub of natural beauty. The Baliem River that flows accross the valley enhances its beauty further.
Baliem Valley was the home to a Stone Age tribe, known as the Kurelu, that survived into the twentieth century. Inhabited by the Dani tribe, Baliem Valley covers the west of the New Guinea Isalnd Papua. It is highlands most fertile part as well. The valley, also known as Grand Valley, was discovered in 1938. It was inhabited by Neolithic warrior and farmer, the Dani Tribes as well as some other sub-tribes of Yali and Lani.
The Baliem Valley has become quite popular as a gateway for discovering the western part of the Papua highland. In Wamana, a large airport was built along with a large network of asphalt roads and brick houses. But these developments seem to be not enought as the Baliem valley still remains a place dominated by the straw roofs of the Dani tribe.
While in Baliem Valley, you will often come across with the Melanesians the indigenous people of this province with dark skin and curly hair. These people grow root crops, such as sweet potatoes and taros for consumption. Interestingly, pigs are often treated as members of the family.
Sightseeing in Baliem Valley
It will be a great experience to visit Baliem valley which offers thousands of kilometers of jungle consisting of unknown flora and fauna, ice covered mountains, swampland, isolated and archaic cultures.Exploring the Baliem Valley and its primitive traditions as well as the way of life that the tribes lead is simply awesome. Dani market in Wamena Town is an interesting place to flock in. The Wauma village can easily be reached on foot or by car from Wamena. In addition, you can also visit the places like Aikima and its 250 years old mummy, Suroba, Jiwika and some other neighboring villages. The salt spring where the Dani women used to make salt in primitive way for centuries is also a popular attraction to visit. Also visit the Kurima area, where the way of life of Dani and Yali Tribes blends perfectly to create a unique combination.
Baliem Valley also hosts the Baliem festival, which is generally held every year during August or September. The main attractions of the festival are certainly the different tribes like Dani, Lani and Yali tribe that live in the surrounding villages. Here you can see all tribes group delivering their envoy to attend the festival as they showcase all tribal attributes, kotekas, art and craft. The Baliem festival is an excellent opportunity to observe the rich culture of this unspoilt land.
Baliem Valley also boasts of various kind of birds of paradise, parrot families, pigeons and flightless Cassowary. In fact, this place could well be described as a bird watchers delight. Trekking is also an option here.
Accommodation in Baliem Valley
Staying in Baliem Valley Resort will be a good experience and at the same time comfortable as well. It is surrounded by mountain rain forests, walking trails, rivers, lakes and villages. This 3-star luxury resort provides fun and thoughtful ecological knowledge to its guests. The resort features a restaurant, a bar or lounge and barbecue grills. This Wamena property provides an airport shuttle as well. You can also stay in any of the other hotels like Srikandi Hotel, Pondok Wisata Putri Dani, Nayak Hotel etc.
History of the Arles Amphitheater
The Arles amphitheater, much like the amphitheater in Nimes was built by the Roman architect T. Crispius Reburrus sometime around the first century AD. The entire structure was built on a bedrock with a wooden floor often provided on the rock. The joists supporting the wood can still be seen in many places.
Arles Amphitheater is quite an architectural wonder. The fact that it is one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters helps us to get a clearer insight into the architectural nuances that went behind its construction, as compared to other similar edifices from the Classical era. You will wonder at the skill and expertise of the ancient stone cutters and stone layers who built this structure, putting stone over stone with immaculate precision and without the use of mortars. The perfection was such that the amphitheater has endured the wind and the rain for about two thousand years now without any considerable damage. Whatever damage was inflicted, was inflicted by man rather than nature.
In the medieval times, at around 12th century AD, long before the early gladiatorial games came to cease, the amphitheater was turned into a fortress, with living quarters and towers constructed within its premises. The arcades were also walled up, and the third tier in fact does not exist any more. The entire structure was cleared and restored about 150 years back by Prosper Merimee. Only three towers were left standing as memories of the medieval times. Now, you can climb the tower at the entrance for a spectacular view of the entire amphitheater.
Architecture of the Amphitheater at Arles
The seating space is divided into three tiers of seating steps. At its height, the amphitheater could accommodate anywhere between 21,000 to 25,000 spectators. The arena itself was one of the largest in the whole of Gaul, with a length of 136m and a width of 107m. The faade itself is a work of wonder. There is a double row of arcades, each adorned with 60 archways with a width of 3.38 m. Four arches, each 4.8m wide lead to the arena. They lead to a platform, followed by steps to the seats around and another set of stairs leading to the higher seats, just like a modern day stadium.
Arles Amphitheater Now
One of the most unique facts about the Arles Amphitheater is that it continues to be used as a playing arena. Bull fights, now bloodless, continue to be held in the arena. However, there are occasional musical shows as well. If you are lucky, you can witness one of these programs during your visit to Arles. It will be like having a tryst with history.
Accommodation in Arles
Arles is a historic city, and the amphitheater is only one of its many attractions. Due to its many great landmarks including the Forum and the Roman market place, the Baths of Constantine and the Montmajour cloister, a steady string of tourists visit the city all round the year. As a result, there are plenty of hotels and accommodation options in the city. You have the option of staying right in the middle of the crowded and vibrant city, or at the quieter outskirts, the choice remains purely yours. Grand Hotel Nord Pinus, Hotel le Regence, Hotel Constantin and Hotel Particulier are some of the more popular hotels in the city.