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Colonia Ulpia Traiana

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Visualization of Colonia Ulpia Traiana
Visualization of Colonia Ulpia Traiana

On 12 CE on the Rhine, near today’s Xanten (Germany), the Romans began building the first legionary camp. Its development was stopped in the years 69-70 CE, when a revolt broke out – the local population (Batavas) opposed the Roman rule.

As a result of this war, the camp and the civil town that grew nearby were destroyed. Reconstruction took place around 70 CE, and 30 years later Emperor Trajan granted the settlement the highest municipal status. In the 2nd century CE COLONIA ULPIA TRAIANA was going through its heyday. It was a typical Roman structure with streets at right angles and numerous public buildings, such as an amphitheatre, temples and baths.

After the Romans left this place (around the 5th century it was completely deserted), it was treated until the 19th century as a source of building materials for the town of Xanten (e.g. the local cathedral is built of stones from the Roman camp).

Today, Xanten is a fantastic museum where the camp streets and some buildings have been reconstructed – they probably look the same as almost 2,000 years ago. Some of the defensive walls were rebuilt, trees were even planted exactly in the places where the posts supporting the roofs protecting against the sun had previously stood. We will also see a partially reconstructed amphitheatre, and in its arena we can feel the wonderful acoustics. A few houses and craft workshops, thermal baths and a guest house (inn) were also rebuilt. There is a huge historical museum in the area of the baths, where you can admire various Roman artifacts.

Author: Daria Cybowska

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