Near Lake Morat, Avenches retains the vestiges of its glorious past as the capital of Roman Helvetica. The most impressive testament to its history is undoubtedly the roman amphitheatre. Magnificently preserved, this historic setting with its splendid acoustics is the ideal venue for music festivals.
The Avenches amphitheatre dates from the early 2nd century A.D., its stairs, walls and axial entrances being made of stone and the seating tiers wood. Ceased to be used in the 4th century, the amphitheatre served as a stone quarry. In the 11th century, the bishop of Lausanne had a fortified tower built on its eastern entrance: the current Roman Museum. The baths of the forum, the theatre and the Tornallaz –the only remaining tower of the roman enclosure of 73 towers – are visible, but most of Aventicum is now buried.
In this exceptional setting, summer nights come alive to the tune of a series of musical events. In August, Rock Oz’Arènes, the smallest of the big festivals, has an enthusiastic following thanks to its eclectic programme and the participation of international stars. In September, Avenches Tattoo, an international military music festival, explodes in a harmony of sounds and colours.