Xanten Archaeological Park - History and Facts | History Hit

Xanten Archaeological Park

Xanten, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Xanten Archaeological Park houses the remains of the former Roman settlement of Colonia Ulpia Traiana.

Lily Johnson

21 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Xanten Archaeological Park

Xanten Archaeological Park (Archaologischer Park Xanten) houses the remains of the former Roman settlement of Colonia Ulpia Traiana.

Xanten Archaeological Park history

The area of the park was first garrisoned by Roman legions in around 13 BC and quickly flourished.

Roads and a harbour were built there as was a vast military camp and, except for an interruption due to a Germanic Bataver revolt in 69-70 AD, it continued to thrive. In 88-89 AD this settlement was finally honoured with the status of being a “colonia” and thus Colonia Ulpia Traiana was born.

Most of the buildings in Xanten Archaeological Park date back to the 2nd century AD, when great building projects were undertaken. By this time, the colonia had a population of around 10,000 people and was a great agricultural hub.

However, it was utterly destroyed by the Germanic Franks in the 3rd century and, despite final attempts to breathe life back into the settlement including further fortification, it was abandoned by the 4th century.

Xanten Archaeological Park today

At 73 hectares, Xanten Archaeological Park is now Germany’s largest outdoor museum and offers so much to see.

It is a mixture of ruins and reconstructed sites including temples, homes, an amphitheatre, a city wall, a baths complex, and an inn, to name but a few. There is also a museum housing finds from excavations.

Overall, Xanten Archaeological Park offers a fascinating insight into life in this Roman settlement and really lets you immerse yourself in its history. You can even dress up like a Roman!

Getting to Xanten Archaeological Park

Xanten Archaeological Park is located in Xanten in German, and can be reached by car via the A57 motorway, leaving at the Sonsbeck exit and following the signs towards Xanten. The SL42 bus stops directly outside the park, while Xanten train station is a 15-minute walk away.

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