The Lindenhof is a moraine hill and a public square in the historic center of Zürich. It is the site of the Roman and Carolingian era Kaiserpfalz around which the city has historically grown. The hilltop area includes prehistoric, Roman and medieval remains.
At the flat shore of Lake Zurich were Neolithic and Bronze Age (4500 to 850 BC) lakeside settlements. Lindenhof was largely surrounded by water and therefore an optimal location for early fortified settlements. Middle bronze age (1500 BC) artefacts and remains of a Celtic Oppidum from the 1st century BC (La Tène culture) have been found on excavations.
In 15 BC, Augustus's stepsons Drusus and Tiberius integrated the territory on the left side of Lake Zurich into the Roman provinces Raetia and Germania Superior. Several stone buildings from the Roman period were located on and around the hill. It was part of the small vicus Turicum, located on both sides of the Limmat and connected by a Roman bridge located near the present Rathausbrücke.
Turicum, Zurich's Roman name and possibly also its Celtic name, is engraved on a 2nd-century tombstone of a little boy. The tombstone is located in the Swiss National Museum; a copy is integrated in the Lindenhof wall at Pfalzgasse, leading to St. Peter church.
Using the topography, the Roman military built a citadel on top of the hill in the years of the Roman emperor Valentinian I (364–375), to defend migrations from the North by the Alamanni. It was 4500 square meters large, and it was fitted with 10 towers and two meter wide walls.
During the middle ages, the hilltop leveled fort became the retaining wall and gave the Lindenhof terrace a form similar to its current form. The remains of the Roman camp were used as the center of the later fortification of the historical center of Zürich. Significant parts of the lime mortar and ancient castle wall were integrated into the town houses around the Lindenhof and in a Kaiserpfalz (broken in 1218), which served as a place of festivities, including the engagement of the German emperor Henry IV with Bertha von Turin on Christmas in 1055. The Roman castle's remains existed until the early medieval age: a Carolingian, later Ottonian Pfalz (1054) was built on its remains. This Kaiserpfalz was a long building with a chapel on the eastern side of the fortified hill; it is last mentioned in 1172, and it was derelict by 1218, when its remains were scavenged for construction of the city walls and stone masonry on private houses.
In 1937, archaeologists found graves of late medieval children and adults that were oriented from the east to the west. In the year 1384, a chapel on the Lindenhof was mentioned, but no remains have been found.
Following the demolition of the former royal residence, the hill – the only public park within the city walls – became an area for public life and relaxation, with dense tree vegetation, stone tables, crossbow stands, and bowling and chess; the latter are still very popular in modern times.
The Hedwig fountain (1688) was sculpted by Duke Albrecht I. of Habsburg. It depicts the legend of the siege of Zurich in 1292 with a helmeted sculpture of the leader of the Zurich women. Under baroque influence, Lindenhof was converted in 1780 to a strictly geometrical park.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.