The restored temple of Mithra can be visited in the Aquincum Archaeological Park in the Óbuda district of Budapest since 2018. The renovated building has been reopened on the day of Summer solstice and the author had an opportunity to be the first visitor there.
Temple of Mithra in Aquincum (Budapest)
The Mithraeum was discovered during the archaeological excavations in 1888 and initially it was assumed to be a big house. Because of its size and location it was presumed to belong to an important person. Owing to the numerous altars dedicated by decurion Marcus Antonius Victorinus, which were found around the military camp, he was identified as the owner. The temple was 7 metres wide and 15.03 metres long and it was oriented along the north-south axis. The first room was recognised as a shrine of Mercury, while the western room’s purpose has not been revealed. The next room served as a lobby. The main room’s division into three parts, typical for all temples of Mithra, helped finally establish the nature of the building. The floor was 1 metre below the ground level and the stairs started directly at the entrance to the room. Single steps lead to benches for the worshippers places along the side walls.
The building of the Mithrauem is located immediately south of the Aquincum Museum. The altars dedicated by Victorinus are still in their original positions, while the sculpture depicting Mithra’s birth as well as the tauroctony relief and the main altar are contemporary copies. The original pieces are placed in the lapidarium located close to the north edge of the Aquincum Archaeological Park.
Near the Archeological Park there is a military amphitheatre. Fragments of ruins can be seen even between the lanes of the nearby street. As a curiosity it can be noted that the Nights of the Museums, celebrated in Hungary on the day of Summer solstice, is celebrated quite spectacularly – from early morning a whole cow was prepared on a barbecue.