The accolade came from UNESCO: the Lower Rhine is now a world heritage site too. The UNESCO committee inscribed the Lower Germanic Limes on its list of world heritage sites and thus helped turn the cultural landscape of the Lower Rhine into another highlight.
Guests of Caesar and co.
But what exactly are the Lower Germanic Limes? The limes formed the border of the Roman Empire 2,000 years ago. The Rhine separated Romans and Teutons. The Romans secured their military district from the Germanic settlement areas on the right riverbank. They used the Rhine as a ‘wet border’; no other border fortifications were necessary.
Along the left side of the River Rhine, the Romans erected a military camp and forts as well as some watchtowers. They were linked by Limesstraße (Limes Road). Incidentally, you can still follow large parts of their course: 9 Bundesstraße was virtually built on the trail of the Romans.
The new world heritage site consists of 44 sections in total. They stretch from Remagen to Katwijk in the Netherlands. Witnesses of this era are the Burginatium auxiliary fort near Kalkar, a Roman camp in Kleve-Keeken, a legionary camp in Till near Bedburg-Hau and a limes road that is still easily discernible in the Reichswald between Cleves and Kranenburg.
The most significant Roman towns along the Lower Rhine, however, were Colonia Ulpia Traiana, present-day Xanten, which was the third-largest Roman town north of the Alps after Cologne and Trier with around 20,000 inhabitants, and Novaesium, present-day Neuss. Mostly soldiers were stationed there in several military camps. But civilians also settled there and laid the foundation of present-day Neuss near the mouth of the River Erft.
Those interested in culture can also learn a lot about the Roman past in Krefeld. The cemeteries in Gelduba provide deep insights into life 2,000 years ago. Parts of this treasure trove, such as Prince Arpvar’s golden helmet, can be seen in Castle Linn Museum in Krefeld.
Today, however, you can get the most powerful insight into Roman life around 2,000 years ago in Xanten. With painstaking work, archaeologists deduced from the traces that the Romans left behind in the sand how people once worked and conducted trade, worshipped their gods, used their superb bathing temples and amused themselves at gladiatorial fights. A walking tour of the museum complex leads through the colossal amphitheatre, over parts of the city wall and to the thermal baths and harbour temple with its enormous columns.
And you can eat Roman style: Numidian chicken or Lucanian sausage, perhaps. Just as Caesar and co. liked it.
Discover other historical places on the Lower Rhine
Die Reizensteinkaserne ist ein altes Militärgelände auf der Ostseite des Weseler Bahnhofes.
Der Rhynumsche Weg ist die letzte Erinnerung an das ehemalige Dorf Rhynum, welches 1668 im Rhein versank.
Das Denkmal erinnert an die Rheinüberquerung durch die Allierten in der Nacht vom 23. auf den 24. März 1945.
Eine Mühle gab Möllen ihren Namen. Dort, wo heute das Regenrückhaltebecken hinter dem Deich liegt, begann in früheren Jahrhunderten eine alte Rheinschleife. Aus ihr entstand der Mommbachbogen. Die Strömung durch diesen Rheinarm muss so stark gewesen sein, dass damit eine Wassermühle betrieben wurde. Wie genau diese Mühle aussah, wissen wir nicht. Überliefert ist jedoch vom […]
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