The Roman Baths reflect the Italiensehnsucht of its creator Frederick William IV of Prussia. Various classical Roman and antique Italian styles were melded into an architectural ensemble, created between 1829 and 1840.

While still crown prince, Frederick William commissioned both Charlottenhof (1826-1829) and the Roman Baths (1834-1840). Coming up with numerous ideas and drawing many actual drafts, the artistically inclined heir to the throne had considerable influence on the plans of the architect, Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Charged with managing the actual construction was one of Schinkel's students, Ludwig Persius.

The gardener's house (Gärtnerhaus) (1829-30) and the adjacent house for the gardener's helpers (1832) were both built in Italian country villa style (Landhausstil). The Roman Bath, which gave its name to the ensemble in its entirety, was styled after ancient villas. Together with a small tea pavilion (Teepavillon) (1830), modelled on temples of classical antiquity, they form a complex of buildings tied together by pergolas, arcades and garden spaces. The individual buildings were largely inspired by Schinkel's second trip to Italy in 1828. Thus the Roman Bath, which has never actually been used as a bathing facility, came into being thanks purely to the romantic fantasy of the royal Italophile.

The names of the rooms connote a mixture of antique villas and Roman baths. The atrium, the courtyard of a Roman house, is the reception area. The Impluvium, actually only a glorified rainwater-collection device, gives its name to the whole room in which it is located. The Viridarium (greenhouse) is actually a small garden. Additional names associated with Roman thermal baths are Apodyterium for the changing room and Caldarium.

The whole nostalgic creation is on the bank of an artificial lake created during Peter Joseph Lenné's formation of the Charlottenhof areal. The so-called machine pond (Maschinenteich) gets its name from a steam engine building and an adjacent pumping station torn down in 1923. The large hull of a well marks the location of the former building. The steam engine was not just responsible for keeping the artificial waters of Charlottenhof moving – its smokestacks were also a symbol of progress and what was at its time advanced technology.

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Details

Founded: 1829-1840
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Germany
Historical period: German Confederation (Germany)

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Balázs Brunner (5 months ago)
Beautiful
Boubacar Tamboura (8 months ago)
The surrounding is nice, but there isn't much to see in the Roman bath. On the lunchroom side, a small design & printing like activity available - could be fun for young people.
sridhar saras (9 months ago)
Good gardens
burak cihan (10 months ago)
Worth to see!
Ivan Itchkov (11 months ago)
Peaceful
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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.