Carnuntum was a Roman Legionary Fortress and also headquarters of the Pannonian fleet from 50 AD. After the 1st century it was capital of the Pannonia Superior province. It also became a large city of 50,000 inhabitants. In Roman times Carnuntum had a history as a major trading centre for amber, brought from the north to traders who sold it in Italy; the main arm of the Amber Road crossed the Danube at Carnuntum. Its impressive remains are situated on the Danube in Lower Austria in the Carnuntum Archaeological Park extending over an area of 10 km² near today's villages of Petronell-Carnuntum and Bad Deutsch-Altenburg.

The remains of the civilian city extend around the village Petronell-Carnuntum. There are several places to see in the city: Roman city quarter in the open-air museum, palace ruins, amphitheatre, and Heidentor.

Some way outside the city was a large amphitheatre, which had room for about 15,000 spectators. A plate with an inscription found at the site claims that this building was the 4th largest amphitheatre in the whole Roman Empire.

Between 354 AD and 361 AD, Heidentor, a huge triumphal monument was erected next to the camp and city. Contemporary reports suggest that Emperor Constantius II had it built to commemorate his victories. When the remains of Carnuntum disappeared after the Migration Period the monument remained as an isolated building in a natural landscape and led Medieval people to believe it was the tomb of a pagan giant. Hence, they called it Heidentor (pagan gate).

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Founded: 50 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Austria

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User Reviews

Katharina Biber (2 years ago)
Roman Town in Carnuntum It is the most important and most extensively researched ancient excavation site in Austria. Three completely reconstructed, fully furnished buildings with Roman underfloor heating, magnificent murals and functional kitchens bring ancient living worlds into the present. In the Museum Carnuntinum, selected treasures of the collection of more than two million finds document the culture of the former inhabitants. Opening Hours: 18 March to 18 November: daily from 9 am - 5 pm
Alan (2 years ago)
OMG. 40,000 residents in 311. Marcus Aurelius. Diocletian. The division of the Roman empire. Reconstructed with ancient techniques. Beautiful.
Kevin Franklin (2 years ago)
Loved it. Very very interesting and well done with both the museums and living history part. Not to mention the ongoing archaeological digs that you can view. Bus times were really spread out so highly recommend you have a bike or car to be able to view everything. It is huge. Some roads connecting the sites don’t have sidewalks so car may be best.
Mino Bathory (2 years ago)
Great museum where you can see how Romans lived in this area. You can visit old recreated houses and there is a lot of things to do. Also old Roman amphitheatre is close. During the summer time there are som Roman festivals and you can see how it was in Romans age. It's close to Vienna or Bratislava.
Carolyn Shannon (2 years ago)
Having seen the typical roman ruins over Europe this is the place that puts all those ruins into perspective. They have built, using roman methods and materials, replicas of what once stood on this spot. It is incredible to see and really put other ruins into perspective. It looks like the roman residents just stepped out somewhere leaving their things behind.
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