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.
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).References:
The Jelling stones are massive carved runestones from the 10th century, found at the town of Jelling in Denmark. The older of the two Jelling stones was raised by King Gorm the Old in memory of his wife Thyra. The larger of the two stones was raised by King Gorm's son, Harald Bluetooth in memory of his parents, celebrating his conquest of Denmark and Norway, and his conversion of the Danes to Christianity. The runic inscriptions on these stones are considered the most well known in Denmark.
The Jelling stones stand in the churchyard of Jelling church between two large mounds. The stones represent the transitional period between the indigenous Norse paganism and the process of Christianization in Denmark; the larger stone is often cited as Denmark's baptismal certificate (dåbsattest), containing a depiction of Christ. They are strongly identified with the creation of Denmark as a nation state and both stones feature one of the earliest records of the name 'Danmark'.
After having been exposed to all kinds of weather for a thousand years cracks are beginning to show. On the 15th of November 2008 experts from UNESCO examined the stones to determine their condition. Experts requested that the stones be moved to an indoor exhibition hall, or in some other way protected in situ, to prevent further damage from the weather.
Heritage Agency of Denmark decided to keep the stones in their current location and selected a protective casing design from 157 projects submitted through a competition. The winner of the competition was Nobel Architects. The glass casing creates a climate system that keeps the stones at a fixed temperature and humidity and protects them from weathering. The design features rectangular glass casings strengthened by two solid bronze sides mounted on a supporting steel skeleton. The glass is coated with an anti-reflective material that gives the exhibit a greenish hue. Additionally, the bronze patina gives off a rusty, greenish colour, highlighting the runestones' gray and reddish tones and emphasising their monumental character and significance.