Ancient Roman sites

Porte de Caracalla

The arch was built between 211 and 214 by means of a testamentary donation of Gaius Cornelius Egrilianus, Prefect of the XIV legion, who was originally from Thebeste. The figure set aside for the construction was 250,000 sesterti. Later, the arch was reused as the northern gate of the city wall in the Byzantine period. The lateral arches were walled up, as was the northern one, until they were reopened by French m ...
Founded: 211-214 AD | Location: Tébessa, Algeria

Briga

Briga was a medium sized Roman town that was discovered during the digging of a local road shortly after the French Revolution. From the first century AD onwards, the Romans developed a substantial sanctuary complex on the site of what was a Celtic shrine, as well as the other features one finds at Roman towns, such a theatre, bathhouses and a forum.
Founded: 0 - 200 AD | Location: Eu, France

Raschpëtzer

Raschpëtzer is an artifical aqueduct (qanat) from Roman times, consisting of about 35 wells dug into the rock and linked together by a 600 m main passage and a net of secondary passages, designed to capture the underground water and take it to Roman villas. Raschpëtzer is a particularly well preserved example of a qanat and is probably the most extensive system of its kind north of the Alps. It has been under ...
Founded: 150 AD | Location: Walferdange, Luxembourg

Lellig Roman Ruins

Remains of a Gallo-Roman funeral enclosure lies in the forest Weiler between Mertert and Lellig.
Founded: 0-200 AD | Location: Lellig, Luxembourg

Mersch Roman Ruins

The large Gallo-Roman villa was built in the 1st century AD with a hypocaust and a 75 m long basin.
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Mersch, Luxembourg

Montmaurin Gallo-Roman Villa

The Gallo-Roman villa of Montmaurin dates from the first centuryies AD. The most ancient part, the residential section, now open to the public, dates from the 1st century. It was extended and enhanced in the 4th century then remained occupied until the early 6th century. The area where the accommodation and farming outbuildings (forges, brick and tile production, weaving, etc.) stood stretched to the southeast of the bat ...
Founded: 1st century AD | Location: Montmaurin, France

Las Cuevas de Soria Roman Villa

Roman Villa of La Dehesa was used as an agricultural plantation in the 4th century. It has been Heritage of Cultural Interest in the category of Archaeological Sites since 1931. There you can visit a museum and the site to learn more about the family who lived here.
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Las Cuevas de Soria, Spain

Nesactium

Nesactium was an ancient fortified town and hill fort of the Histri tribe. In pre-Roman times, Nesactium, ruled by its legendary king Epulon, was the capital of the tribal population of the peninsula called Histri, who were also connected to the prehistoric Castellieri culture. Some theories state a later Celtic influence, but who they were and where they came from has never been discovered for certain. It is believed tha ...
Founded: 9th century BCE | Location: Ližnjan, Croatia

Lorun

Lorun is an Antiquity archaeological site located next to the planned built tourist resort of Červar Porta. The remains of a Roman country villa, an estate consisting of the ceramics workshop, an oil mill and a water cistern were found, while the oldest villa doors coincide with the year 46 BC, the time of the establishment of the Poreč colony under the Caesar. Sisenna Statilie Tauro, a Roman consul for as many as 16 ye ...
Founded: 46 BCE | Location: Červar-porat, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.