Lausanne-Vidy Roman Ruins

Lausanne, Switzerland

Lousonna was a Gallo-Roman port during Roman times. The port town was important for commerce with links on Lake Geneva to Roman towns such as the present-day Geneva, Nyon, and Villeneuve.

However, during Roman times, Lausanne was never of political or military importance. Although borders shifted, Lausanne was mostly a backwater at the southern most parts of Germania, ruled from Mainz. Political and military power in the region was concentrated in Avenches and Yverdon-les-Bains.

From the fourth century onwards, Lausanne gradually moved uphill to higher grounds with the Roman port town eventually abandoned. Today, the Roman ruins are some way from the lakeshore, as the level of Lake Geneva was permanently lowered during the nineteenth century. The immediate area is used for various sport facilities and a great area for outdoor activities and strolls along the shores of the lake.

The Musée Romain in Lausanne-Vidy is a fairly small museum on Roman history. The ground floor of the museum, which is built over the foundations of a Roman villa, is used for temporary exhibitions. These exhibitions can cover much more than just the Roman era. As this area is half the museum, the theme and quality of the display very much influence whether the museum is worth visiting at all. Fortunately, the displays are generally excellent and manage to link historic themes well with the present day.

A short walk from the Roman Museum – pass underneath the highway towards the lake – is the Lausanne Roman Archaeological Park. Here many Roman foundations have been uncovered. Visitors can freely explore the archaeological park. Information tables explain the Roman town layout and buildings. The temple was a good 71 m long but the antique port wall is probably the more impressive.

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Details

Founded: 15 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Switzerland

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Yura Polyachenko (9 months ago)
A nice local place to visit. It's free if you have a transport card
김쿠쿠 (10 months ago)
small but lovely good quality museum.
sylwek pocheć (12 months ago)
Great stuff about history of Lausanne
Alexander Pope (2 years ago)
Interesting visit. The museum is smaller than I expected. It is all in French.
Suzanne Punch (3 years ago)
A small, well organized museum that starts at the beginning of life on Earth. I have studied timelines before but the innovative display here was exciting and powerful. The education about how layers of debris are excavated and studied set the stage for the actual artifacts inside, then you walk around the actual Roman ruins. You can touch them and stand in the quiet garden imagining the lives of the many generations who have been exactly there before you.
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