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If you want to explore the area around the Rhine city of Basel, you can't possibly miss the 2,000-year old Roman settlement of Augusta Raurica. Perfectly preserved workshops, taverns and houses are lined up close together and invite you on an exciting journey into the time of the Roman conquests.
In its heyday, this Roman town – which owes its name, among other things, to Emperor Augustus – was home to around 20,000 people. Today, visitors can follow in the footsteps of the fascinating Romans: whether baking bread in wood-fired ovens, discovering Roman pots or stunning silver treasures – you can experience history up close in Augusta Raurica!
The Roman town of Augusta Raurica near Basel is impressive, with more than twenty monuments and important archaeological finds – from the baths and museum, through to the fully furnished Roman dwelling.
A family trip to the well-known Augusta Raurica Museum is well worth it: a selection from more than 1.9 million archived finds is on display there and presented with plenty of attention to detail. The relics offer thrilling insights into the lives of people two thousand years ago. Background information is provided at eye level and in a way that is easy to understand, so that even young visitors can enjoy the exhibit.
The Roman House in Augusta Raurica is based on a city villa from Pompeii and gives a great impression of how a wealthy family lived their daily lives back then. The villa contains numerous objects from everyday use – handling them is expressly encouraged! – and allows you to slip into the role of the homeowners! The housing area contains an inner courtyard with a garden, porticoes, a well-equipped kitchen, a bedroom and study, a hall for banquets and a private bath.
Augusta Raurica's amphitheatre is one of the best preserved in Switzerland and, in its time, was the setting for bloody gladiator fights and animal hunts. It could seat around 13,000 spectators, who would cheer as the courageous gladiators fought for survival. Fortunately, it's a more peaceful place today: tables invite visitors to relax and enjoy a cosy family picnic. Anybody interested can get more information about the public exhibitions from the small display in the Carcer.
In around 300 AD, the border of the Roman Empire in the north was pushed back to the Rhine. This meant that Augusta Raurica then lay directly on the border of Germania, and needed to be better protected from invasions by the Germanic people. With its eight to ten-metre high enclosing wall, the fort in Augusta Raurica was intended to secure the Rhine crossing. Four gates led to the interior where civilians lived in addition to members of the Roman Army. The mysterious silver treasure, which can be viewed in the Augusta Raurica Museum, was also buried here at that time.
Bathing and wellness were already part of a cultured lifestyle as early as ancient Rome. The baths in Augusta Raurica were ideally located for road traffic and typically consisted of one hot, one warm and one cold bath. One room also served as a steam room. It is interesting that all of the rooms – except for the cold bath – were equipped with sophisticated underfloor heating.
Roux du Valais sheep, Nera Verzasca goats and woolly pigs: In cooperation with the Institute for Prehistoric and Natural Science Archaeology at the University of Basel and the ProSpecieRara foundation, historical animal breeds were selected for the in-house animal park as they were kept by the Romans, according to illustrations and finds. A real highlight of the visit, for people of all ages!