Roman Sites in Germany

Running diagonally across Germany is the Limes Germanicus, a defensive boundary of natural and built features that separated the Roman provinces from the Germanic tribes to the north. Today, the ruins of forts and reconstructed watchtowers are popular visitor attractions. South of the German limes were many important Roman towns and provincial capitals, today’s Xanten and Regensburg, Trier and Cologne. A number of Germany’s older towns and cities were established by the Romans. Between these towns are the remains of rural estates and temples, thermal baths and aqueducts. 

Cologne - Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium

Colonia was always an important town for the Romans; the capital of the province of Germania Inferior and later the capital of Germania Secunda. The regional headquarters of the military in the region was based here. There are a number of features to see in the city, including sections of the wall and towers. The Roman museum, exhibitions are currently in a temporary location, was built on the foundations of a townhouse and displays its mosaic floor of Dionysius.

Limeskastell, Pohl

The replica of the Limes fort at Pohl is based on excavations and up-to-date research. The Roman fort was on the northern border of the Empire, and was built around 100 CE. Today this open air museum is part of the Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reconstructed buildings within the earth and wood rampart house permanent exhibitions showing what the living conditions at the fort were like for soldiers, as well as displaying artefacts from nearby Roman sites.

LVR-Archaeological Park Xanten

The archaeological park on the edge of the medieval town of Xanten was built on the ruins of the Roman settlement Colonia Ulpia Traiana, on the banks of the Lower Rhine. Founded in 70 AD, the Roman town was the second most important commercial post in Germania Inferior, after Cologne. In 275 AD it was completely destroyed by Germanic tribes, and rebuilt as Tricensimae. That too was destroyed by local tribes. A number of features have been reconstructed in the park, including an amphitheatre, bath house and defensive wall.

Nennig Roman Villa

In 1852 a farmer came across tesserae while he was digging a pit. This led to the discovery of the Roman villa, and one of the most outstanding mosaic floors north of the Alps. At 15.65 x 10.30 metres, this mosaic is certainly one of the biggest. The mosaic depicts the various activities that take place in the amphitheatres, including a somewhat graphic scene of gladiators fighting each other, men hunting wild animals, as well as animals hunting other animals. Also, on the edge of town there is an Iron Age tumulus.

Porta Praetoria, Regensburg

Casta Regina was the Roman name for a 2nd century AD military fort on the Danube River, a city we know today as Regensburg. Very little of this fort has survived. One feature being a gate from the northern walls of the fort; one of the few surviving Roman gates north of the Alps. The stone from much of the Roman fort, like elsewhere, was used in the construction of later buildings. The reason the north gate survived is because it was partly integrated into the Bishop’s court in the mid 17th century. The distinctive Roman masonry can still be seen from the street.

Roman Cavalry Fort, Aalen

This cavalry fort, situated along the Rhaetian Limes, was the largest such fort in Europe north of the Alps. The fort was built in the mid 2nd century CE, and abandoned by circa 260 CE. Over 1,000 soldiers of the Ala II Flavia Miliaria were stations here. As part of the defensive system along the northern edge of the Roman Empire in what is upper Germany today, the Rhaetian Limes is a listed UNESCO World Heritage site. Next to the ruins of the fort is one of the biggest Roman museums in Germany.

Roman Mainz - Mogontiacum

What started out as a strategically positioned Legionary base developed into a regional administrative and military centre. Mogontiacum often served as a military base for Roman incursions into the north and east of Germany. Its position on the Rhine, at the mouth of another major navigable river – the Main, made the town very attractive to traders who set up a port. Besides a few good museums, there are a number of Roman ruins to see in Mainz, including the remnants of an aqueduct, and the foundations of a temple.

Roman Mine, Meurin

Vulkanpark is a rural geo-attraction focussed on a volcanic region in the eastern Vulkan Eifel area of Germany. A series of self-guided routes enable visitors to explore volcanology, archaeology and industrial history – and understand how the exploitation of volcanic rock has shaped the landscape since Roman times. Besides the Roman mine, the routes also take in a section of Roman walls near the town of Mayen and two Roman mound graves just outside the towns of Nickenich and Ochtendung.

Roman Trier - Augusta Treverorum

Founded by the Romans around 16 BC Trier is said to be the oldest city in Germany. By the 4th century AD, as one of the tetrarchy, it was one of the largest cities in the Empire, and known as ‘the second Rome’. Trier also has some extremely well preserved Roman remains. These include a bridge over the Moselle, an amphitheatre, bath houses and the basilica built for Constantine at the beginning of the 4th century AD. Together with two medieval cathedrals these Roman monuments have been included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Saalburg Roman Fort

The Roman fort of Saalburg, also Römerkastell Saalburg, was a frontier fortification on the Upper German Limes just northwest of Bad Homburg, Hesse. The earliest excavations were carried out in the 1850s. In 1897 Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered a reconstruction of the fort, the result a near complete reconstruction of a Roman fort. Displays in the buildings use artefacts from the fort to give an idea of life in Roman times here. There are also artefacts from nearby sites such as the exquisite gilded bronze head of a horse from Waldgrimes.

Varusschlacht Park and Museum

The site of the Battle of Teutoberg Forest is thought to be near the village of Kalkriese in Lower Saxony. Said to be one of the most important defeats suffered by the Romans, it was here in 9 AD that local Germanic tribes ambushed the Romans so ending Augustus’s expansion of the Roman Empire. Visitors can see all aspects of the battle played out in state-of-the art exhibitions, view the battlefield from a tower and walk through an archaeological excavation and reconstruction of the landscape at the time of the battle.

Weilberg Villa, Bad Dürkheim

In 1981 the remains of a Roman Villa were excavated, and the walls partly reconstructed. Excavations revealed a wine press, and the slopes on which the villa’s ruins are found are still used to grow vines today. The earliest habitation is thought to have been around 50 BCE, but construction of the main stone-built villa began in the 2nd century CE. The site was abandoned by the 5th century. In all the Roman site is about 7.5 hectares. Today the site, which includes a reconstruction of the main house, is an open air museum.