Roman Archeological Park

Xanten, Germany

In the first century BC. the Romans set their sights on the Lower Rhineland. They erected a military camp on the Fürstenberg so that they could advance into Germania to the east of the Rhine by crossing the river Lippe.

After the devastating defeat of Varus by the Germanic forces led by Arminius in 9 AD, the river Rhine became the eastern frontier of the Roman empire. A port and a settlement developed north of the camp. About 98 AD Emperor Traian granted the settlement colony status, and this became Colonia Ulpia Traiana.

Streets in a grid pattern, sewers, town walls, a forum, temples, baths and an amphitheatre were built, and all from stone that had to be hauled more than 100 kilometres down the Rhine.

In the Xanten Archaeological Park, some buildings have been partly reconstructed, some rebuilt and furnished to give visitors an idea of what the settlement would have been like. Original remains of Roman buildings can also be seen.

Roman museum

The modern steel and glass building is situated on the historic site of the major Roman settlement Colonia Ulpia Traiana. It is built on the excavated foundations of the entrance hall of the public baths. The size and the shape of the modern building correspond to the ancient Roman original.

Among the exhibits on display are the remains of a Roman boat, suspended from the ceiling at a height of 12 metres. Further highlights are a stunning, large mural and the oldest and best preserved Roman cannon yet discovered. Spanish oil amphorae, silver tableware, pottery and a considerable collection of Roman army weapons and equipment are also  on display.

Roman Baths 

The municipal public baths of Colonia Ulpia Traiana were built under Emporor Hadrian around A.D. 125. The complex comprised hot, warm and cold baths, changing rooms, saunas and a sports-field.

The baths, destroyed in 275, were rediscovered in 1879. The museum building was openend in 1999. The building, combining glass and steel, reflects the design and dimensions of the original, allowing visitors to get a good impression of the imposing size of these ancient baths.



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Founded: 98 AD
Category: Museums in Germany
Historical period: Germanic Tribes (Germany)

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Somnath Sikdar (5 months ago)
Xanten was one of two Roman military strongholds in Germany, the largest being in Cologne. The town itself was built on the banks of the Rhine. Little remains of the old town as the stone used in the original construction was sold for other building projects over the millenia. But certain keys buildings were reconstructed post Second World War. These include the Harbour Temple, the Amphitheater, and the Roman Museum which is also a protective housing of steel and glass that shrouds the enormous bath house. The town sprawled over a large area and today it is covered by well-maintained grass lawns. We spent the whole day at this location. The museum covers interesting aspects of Roman life in Xanten. For only 9 Euros per adult, it was truly worth it.
Dirk Porsche (6 months ago)
We had a very nice time. Even with all the Covid measures in place. The museum was open at least and it was very interesting and informative.
Kathy xx (6 months ago)
One of the most fascinating places to see in this area. Even if you’re not too into history, it’s a humbling experience to stand below the pillars of the temple or inside the amphitheater and consider how old they are and what stories they could tell. The park itself is also real nice to take a walk in and because the different Roman buildings are spread all over it, you don’t just walk and walk and walk but can take breaks to admire everything and learn more about the history of the place from the educational boards. The museum is especially interesting for kids because it tells about different games Roman kids used to play and they’ve even set up some of them for visitors to give a try. The only downside is that it gets very exhausting in the summer because there’s almost zero shade. So even though it is fine to bring your own food and drinks, you may want to consider stopping at the restaurant for a bite. Not only does it give you the feel you’re actually having dinner at a Roman home, it’s also good for cooling you down. In relation to that, I suggest you go right from the entrance and then walk the park counter-clockwise, as that will have you visit the amphitheater (possibly the park’s highlight) last and then you can take a break before you leave the park. The town center also isn’t very far by foot and since you’re already there, you should definitely go and check it out Xanten’s really cosy and charming.
Gangalic Catalin (7 months ago)
tldr; amazing park, totally worth visiting. The park spans over a very big parcel of land, which would take around 40-60 minutes to tour around, depending on your pace. Thus, prepare for a long walk with some confortable shoes and some water. The park has various amenities on site, like toilets, tourist information and an enclosed museum that looks like a deposit from outside. Outside there are various Roman structures that were reconstructed to provide the allure of those ages. Taking a walk among the tree alleys or among the multiple guard towers is a real delight. Also, visiting the main gates is a must. In case the museum is closed (due to covid for example), it is a good idea to go around it and near the river side you may find various informational boards telling about the history of the place, how it appeared and developed through time. Hope you get a nice weather for your visit and enjoy it at its fullest!
Anshul Khandelwal (9 months ago)
Beautiful place to see.. Great Roman History preserved. Especially the Amphitheatre. There are other monuments and a Museum to see. There is the Xanten Lake nearby The whole park is huge and Beautiful. Also the ticket is free of cost..
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