Roman Remains in Nyon

Nyon, Switzerland

Little remains of Nyon’s Roman past. Apart from the Roman museum, a few Roman items can be seen around Nyon. Some decorative stones were used in later buildings but the most visual are the pillars erected above Parc du Bourg-de-Rive. These three pillars (well two and a third pillars) were discovered buried horizontally in old town Nyon and moved to overlook Lake Geneva in 1958. Here, they can easily be seen by travelers arriving by boat or by car from the Geneva direction. These Roman pillars vie with Chateau de Nyon to be the symbol of Nyon.

To the east of Nyon’s old town, the foundation of the Roman amphitheater was discovered in 1996. The ruins are not in a particularly good condition and although covered to prevent further erosion, no immediate plans (or financing) are in place to preserve these Roman ruins completely.

Roman Museum

The Roman Museum (Musée Romain) in Nyon explains the Roman heritage of Nyon and is located inside the foundations of the former Roman basilica. Apart from the Roman foundations, the museum has many Roman-era articles on display as well as numerous models that explain Roman buildings and structures.

Nyon’s written history started around 45 BCE when during the times of Julius Caesar the Roman town Noviodunum, which was an important town in the Roman Colonia Iulia Equestris, was founded on the shores of Lake Geneva. The Roman presence lasted until around 400 AD but Nyon remained occupied by humans without interruption.

The Roman Museum in Nyon is located inside the foundations of a first-century Roman basilica. Apart from the exposed foundations, numerous Roman items from the region are on display. These include the mainstays of many Roman museums in Europe such as stones of various functions engraved in Roman letters and numerals, odd bits of statues, remains of mosaics, pots, and jewelry.

Scale models illustrate what the Roman forum complex in Nyon must have looked like while further models illustrate various other aspects of Roman life. A few activity stations for children allow them to explore how a Roman arch is built and how best to load amphorae in a boat.

The museum also gives a broad overview of Roman occupation in what is present-day Switzerland. In Roman times, as in the present, Nyon and nearby Geneva were in completely different administrative regions. Currently, Nyon is in canton Vaud (Waadt) while Geneva is in Genève (Genf).

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Founded: 45 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Switzerland

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Siddarth Rupani (2 years ago)
One of the few things to visit in Nyon. Good view from here. (and those travellers who want to fill their water bottles...there is a water fountain next to it)
Simon Conway (2 years ago)
Explore and find the gems in this lovely town loads to see
Mike Jollands (3 years ago)
One of them is broken, what a mess
Vachagan Harutyunyan (3 years ago)
Lovely spot with a great view by the lakeside. This is one of the main attractions of Nyon.
Niall Macpherson (3 years ago)
Another nice view on the lake towards Geneva. Concerts on a Sunday morning.
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