The Saalburg is a Roman fort located on the Taunus ridge northwest of Bad Homburg. It is a Cohort Fort belonging to the Limes Germanicus, the Roman linear border fortification of the German provinces. The Saalburg, located just off the main road roughly halfway between Bad Homburg and Wehrheim is the most completely reconstructed Roman fort in Germany. Since 2005, as part of the Upper German limes, it forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In Roman times, the Saalburg fort kept watch over a section of the Limes in the Taunus hills. From the beginning of the 2nd century AD for approximately the next 150 years, the Limes marked the frontier between Rome’s Empire and the Germanic tribal territories. The fort’s garrison was made up of 600 soldiers – both infantry and cavalry. A bath house and guest house were located just outside the main gate. A village housing craftsmen, traders and tavern keepers adjoined the fort. The Roman road to Nida (today Frankfurt-Heddernheim) was lined with graves and small shrines. As many as 2000 people may once have lived in the fort and the village.

The buildings fell into disrepair after increasing Germanic attacks, campaigns in the East of the Empire and internal political problems forced Rome to abandon the Limes. Today, the remains of the 550 kilometre long frontier complex from the Rhine to the Danube comprise the largest ancient monument in Europe. After initial archaeological investigation in the mid-19th century, thanks to an initiative led by Kaiser Wilhelm II, the fort was rebuilt between 1897 and 1907 to serve as open-air museum and research institute.

The visitor who makes the rounds of the fort and its grounds gains a lively and vivid picture of the Roman way of life. Within the fortifications, which include defensive walls, rampart walk and four gateways, many original buildings have been reconstructed in stone and timber. The horreum (granary) is now an exhibition room. The praetorium (commander's quarters) houses the Museum Administration Unit as well as the Saalburg Research Institute. The centrally located principia (headquarters building) impresses the visitor with its monumental assembly hall and colonnaded courtyard, around which museum rooms are grouped. In Roman times, these were orderly rooms, offices and armouries. The fabrica is modelled on the workshop buildings in Roman military camps. It is used for exhibits, special events and museum education. The common soldiers lived in the nearby centuriae (barrack blocks).

Archaeological finds, reconstructions, displays and models reveal the lives of the soldiers and the residents of the village outside the gates of the fort. Especially eye-catching are the reconstructed contubernium (barracks room), home to a squad of eight soldiers who lived in close quarters, and the richly decorated triclinium (officer’s dining room).

The aedes (regimental shrine) is particularly impressive: it was once the spiritual and religious centre of the fort. In the re-built ovens along the rampart walk, fresh Roman bread is still baked several times a year.

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Address

B456, Bad Homburg, Germany
See all sites in Bad Homburg

Details

Founded: 90-135 AD
Category: Museums in Germany
Historical period: Germanic Tribes (Germany)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Josh D (3 years ago)
Me, my wife and two kids ages 2 and 3 had a good time here. There's a decent amount of parking out front within a short walk to the entrance. The gift shop is small but has some good stuff in it and is also where you purchase entrance tickets. The place itself is pretty neat to see and takes a couple hours to walk around and see if you take your time. There's also a small museum inside with various artifacts from the time period and some information about the area and Saalzburg itself. There's a restaurant too, with indoor and outdoor seating and a decent selection of food and drinks. Bathrooms are located inside the gate, with no options before paying to enter. Some things have English descriptions but many do not in case yiu only know English. Overall a great place to spend a few hours, I only wish there were more pieces in the museum.
Michael Bechtold (4 years ago)
Unique Roman castle next to Limes wall near Frankfurt. Includes a museum and restaurant with ancient Roman style cuisine.
Chris Chilson (4 years ago)
Well worth a visit- a 1 of a kind site. Ruins of a Roman fort and town in a lovely setting. Some ruins have been reconstructed to give a better idea of what the fort looked like when in use and others are "as is" but all very interesting. Nice exhibits and some that are very kid friendly- the only drawback is most of the information is only in German (but this is in Germany). Good place to come for a picnic too or enjoy a walk outside the Roman walls and in the park area outside the museum site's gates. Stop by the Taberna for a drink or a snack - seating inside & out.
Britt Breu (4 years ago)
A beautifully restored Roman military outpost & open air museum. Super nice costumed volunteers who explain historical context & significance. English descriptions on the signage and info material available.Very impressive. Take a walk to the Limes - the Hadrian's Wall of Germany. Bring a picnic and eat amongst the ruins of the outlying village or try recreated Roman cuisine in the onsite restaurant. Drinks, ice cream, gift shop & out door seating round it off. Worth a day visit. Will definitely go back with foreign visitors.
Ashley Robert (4 years ago)
This is a such wonderful and true historic site! This is a old Roman settlement that was partly rebuilt and turned into an amazing museum. It is fun for both young and old! Inside you can learn more about the Romans and this settlement. To enter you need to pay and there is a souvenir store. You can also simply walk around the settlement and there are also old roman ruins and the limes wall. All in all this is an amazing place to visit!
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