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Beautiful Roman mosaics in Switzerland

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman mosaic from Orbe showing a four-wheeled wagon.
Roman mosaic from the Orbe showing a four-wheeled cart. |

The small town of Orbe in western Switzerland abounds in a huge amount of Roman mosaics. It is certainly the largest collection of this type of art from Roman times, north of the Alps. Interestingly, very few enthusiasts know about what is evidenced by the small number of tourists visiting this place.

The city, which has almost 7,000 inhabitants, two thousand years ago, consisted only of a Roman villa and the agricultural buildings surrounding it. The villa was used between 170 and 270 CE and she was an extremely rich home. The evidence for this is a large number of preserved Roman mosaics.

For unknown reasons, the villa was gradually destroyed, finally being abandoned. The last traces of stay in this place are dated to the 5th century BC (coins were found from this period). After this time, the ruins of the villa were used as a source of stone, soon to disappear completely from the face of the earth.

However, this place was rediscovered in 1976. There was also a network of pipes, traces of the baths, the sanctuary of Mithra, underfloor heating system. However, what decorates this place the most is the number of mosaics that saw the light of day. They show geometric figures, images of figures. They are real masterpieces of Roman art.

Mosaics in Orbe are hidden in pavilions.

Despite all these advantages Orbe is still little known among tourists. This is largely due to the bad adaptation of the place for visitors’ needs. There is no proper sidewalk here, which means that you can only get to the Roman remains when walking through the field – which is not pleasant on rainy days. What’s more, the mosaics are hidden inappropriate pavilions, which in turn makes it difficult to admire objects. This place is open to visitors only 110 days a year – from Easter to September. However, in order to better promote the place and make the monuments available, money is needed that is not available at the moment.


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