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Colchester, through which the River Colne runs, is a market town located in the borough of Colchester, Essex, 50 miles northeast of London. As of the 2011 Census, Colchester was the fastest growing town. People from Colchester are known as Colcestrian. Colchester is not only the oldest town since the Roman civilization, it is also the oldest town in BritainColchester was also known as the capital of Roman Britain. The Most Ancient European Towns Network also lists Colchester as one of its members.
The A12 road and the Colchester railway station both connect this town to the capital. Being a market town, there are a number of commuters who travel to and from to this location. The Stansted Airport and the Harwich ferry port are two means used for this purpose which lie at a distance of 30 miles and 20 miles from Colchester respectively. One of the main attractions at this market town is the Colchester Castle. The town is also home to the Colchester United Football Club.
Colchester has served as a military garrison ever since the Roman period. The 16th Air Assault Brigade is currently housed in this Colchester Garrison. The Glasshouse, the army’s military prison meant for corrective training, is located in Berechurch Hall Road, which lies on the outskirts of Colchester. The Glasshouse is a prison for those men and women in the army service who have been sentenced to serve detention periods.
During the ten year period of 1998-2008, the garrison saw many changes. The Ministry of Defence sold a lot of it's for developing private housings. This led to the relocation of some parts of the garrison. There are parts in the garrison that still await the development process. This may happen in the second phase that is yet to be initiated.
Colchester ,in 2006, started the practice of firing Royal Salutes on a Royal anniversary or a Royal visit or visit by a foreign dignitary. The Castle Park is the place where the salutes are fired from since 2009.
There are various museums in Colchester such as The Castle Museum, Hollytrees Museum, Natural History Museum. The Castle Museum which is located inside the Colchester Castle is home to an exhibit on Colchester of the Roman times. The Holltrees Museum is a museum for social history where exhibits for children can also be seen in Charles Gray’s former home. Situated in what was earlier the All Saints' Church, is the Natural History Museum.
The erstwhile Cavalry Barracks are home to a visitor and museum and display exhibits from the Roman Circus. The museum is managed by the Colchester Archaeological Trust. There are replicas and models of the circus as well as finds from Roman cemeteries included in these exhibits.In 2014 brick and marble columns from the massive frontage of the area of the Temple of Claudius were discovered behind the High Street. There are plans to exhibit them to the public.
The Gosbecks Archaeological Park
The Gosbecks Archaeological Park which is home to a Roman theatre and a Roman-British temple is located in the south-west part of the town. Once the park used to be the place for the "Cunobelin's farm", named after a Catuvellauni king, whose coins were found at the site in large quantities. The park, during the Roman period, housed a large Romano-British temple and Britain's largest Roman theatre. This theatre was almost twice as big in size as compared to the largest theatre in Colchester today. Another reason for the park to be famous is its closeness to the post-conquest Stanway burials, a Roman fort and the Iron Age defensive earthworks that are still existing.
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