We took a short ‘Roman holiday’ and spent a day in the German city of Xanten, that was a huge Roman settlement 2000 years ago. The city is now known for one of the largest archaeological open air museums in the world: the Archeological Park. It is built on the remains of Colonia Ulpia Traiana, as the Roman settlement was called.
A beautiful park
Do you need to be a fan of Roman history to enjoy this park? No, not necessarily. Because this is simply a beautiful park to walk in. The Roman streetplan is marked by broad lanes of trees. In the park you’ll find a number of marvellous reconstructions of Roman buildings. These reconstructions are the result of profound archaeological research into Roman building techniques and constructions. Some of these reconstructions are on the exact same place as the original buildings. So this is how they built the amphitheatre, the city walls and gates, the inn and the public baths.
In the park you will also find the LVR-RömerMuseum, that was moved from the centre of Xanten to the park a few years ago. The building design is a mixture of modern and Roman influences. The architects took their inspiration from the Roman baths. For a reason, because the remains of the reception room of the Roman city therms are buried under the museum.
The museum shows the history of Xanten in chronological order. It’s interesting to see the many archaeological finds froom 2000 years ago. The remains of the Roman therms are in a separate hall of the museum.
We spent about 5 hours in the park and museum. The park is quite large and you can walk around for hours. Perfect for a day out!
Medieval city centre
The Archaeological Park is not the only atraction in Xanten, the medieval city centre is also wordt a visit. It is centered around the marketplace and (Alter Markt) the cathedral. The Alter Markt is a perfect place to have lunch or dinner in one of the many restaurants.