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View looking northeast at the exterior of the Market of Trajan. Note the entrances to the lower level of shops that opened up to directly to the pavement of the Forum of Trajan. Notice that some of the marble paving is still preserved. The line of windows on the second floor let light into shops that line an interior corridor.
This hemicycle exedra was located on the northeast side of the Forum of Trajan—a corresponding market was on the other side but is buried (destroyed?) under the Via dei Fori Imperiali that was constructed in the 1920s and 1930s.
It was designed by Apollodorus of Damascus, Trajan's architect, and built in A.D. 100–110. It is built into the Quirinal Hill, which had to be excavated away. It is preserved in places to six–storeys! The high tower just left of center is the Torre delle Milize, the "militia tower," that was built in A.D. 1200.
The "market" had a variety of functions: shops for merchants, administrative offices for the government, and apartments. Today it houses a museum—Museu dei Fori Imperiali—in which artifacts from the various Imperial Fora are on display.