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  • Xanten

    Germany's largest Open Air Museum

Xanten - Roman Archaeological Park


Distance from base: 250 km

History of Xanten

Founded over 2000 years ago, Xanten (Castra Vetera, Colonia Ulpia Traiana or Tricensimae in Latin) is one of the oldest cities in Germany, and the only German city which name starts with the letter "X".

The area was settled by various Celto-Germanic tribes since at least 2000 B.C.
In 15 B.C., under Emperor Augustus, the Romans built a camp on top of a hill, which the named "Castra Vetera". It was the main base of the Classis germanica (Roman Navy for Germany), which occupied by 8,000 to 10,000 legionaries. Castra Vetera was destroyed during the uprising of the Batavians in 70 C.E. and a second camp was built on Bislicher Insel (i.e. an isle on the Rhine). "Castra Vetera II" became the base camp of Legio VI Victrix ("Victorious").

The Roman history of Xanten began with the arrivl of the first legions in the year 13/12 B.C. The Lower Rhine region was sparsely populated arount that time, but from then on at least one legion was stationed in the Xanten area. In the 1st century after Christ, the biggest known legionary base of antiquity was established here.

The security and the economic opportunities brought by the Roman camp resulted in the development of a settlement nearby. In 110, it had reached a population of 10,000 to 15,000 inhabitants (including many former legionaries), and was given the rights of a Colonia by the Emperor Marcus Ulpius Traianus, who renamed the city "Colonia Ulpia Traiana". It became the second most importand commercial post in the province of Germania Inferior, only beaten by Colonia Agrippinensis (modern Cologne).

During its height, it was home to more than ten thousand people whose history can be reconstructed from the traces they left in the ground.

Xanten is known for the Archaeological Park, one of the largest archaeological open air museums in the world and the largest in Germany, built at the site of the Roman settlements Colonia Ulpia Traiana.
Impressive structures like the city wall with its towers and gates, a temple, the amphitheater and residential buildings were rebuilt in their original size and convey a detailed impression of life in a roman province.
Aside from the reconstructions, the excavations and a aromatic herb garden, there are fast fields, a roman game house, a huge adventure playground and a big water playground which invite kids to play. In a roman restaurant you can enjoy a meal in a pleasant atmosphere.

The core of the open air museum is the LVR Roman Museum. The exhibition leads you from Cäsar to the Franken through an eventful Roman history. The highlights are the remains of a Roman ship which floats under the ceiling, impressive wall paintings and the oldest and best preserved Roman cannon.

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  • €69 per adult

  • €55 per child (3-17)

  • €25 per child (0-2)

  • Method of payment: cash (EUR and US), credit card (MC, VS, AX)
Please participate!


  • Round Trip Bus Transportation
  • ITT Escort
  • guided tour at Open Air Museum Xanten

Not Included

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  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
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  • Entrance fees not mentioned in the tour description
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