Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Perhaps the most dominant feature, certainly one of the most popular, of this south western state of Germany is the Rhine River. Vineyard covered slopes of the valley create a picturesque setting for castles and palaces, churches and abbeys. A region that is well known amongst hikers and cyclists and well as cruise ship passengers. The vineyards were introduced to the region by the Romans, who set up settlements in many locations. Most notably the UNESCO listed World Heritage site of Trier, or Augusta Treverorum – suggested by some to be the oldest city in Germany. Whether you are interested in following in the footsteps of the Celts and Romans or visiting the Cold War Regierungsbunker in the Ahr Valley, Rheinland-Pfalz is a treasure trove of archaeology and history.

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Historical Towns & Cities in Rhineland-Palatinate

Roman Trier - Augusta Treverorum

Founded by the Romans around 16 BC Trier is said to be the oldest city in Germany. By the 4th century AD, as one of the tetrarchy, it was one of the largest cities in the Empire, and known as ‘the second Rome’. Trier also has some extremely well preserved Roman remains. These include a bridge over the Moselle, an amphitheatre, bath houses and the basilica built for Constantine at the beginning of the 4th century AD. Together with two medieval cathedrals these Roman monuments have been included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Roman Mainz - Mogontiacum

What started out as a strategically positioned Legionary base developed into a regional administrative and military centre. Mogontiacum often served as a military base for Roman incursions into the north and east of Germany. Its position on the Rhine, at the mouth of another major navigable river – the Main, made the town very attractive to traders who set up a port. Besides a few good museums, there are a number of Roman ruins to see in Mainz, including the remnants of an aqueduct, and the foundations of a temple.

Archaeology & History Sites in Rhineland-Palatinate

Boppard Roman Fort

The centre of present-day Boppard on the Rhine River is built on the remains of a mid 4th century AD Roman fort, named Bodobrica. This was one of the most important military camps on the Middle Rhine. The settlement was founded by the Celts, named Baudobriga. The size attests to the fort’s importance, at 308 × 154 m covering an area of 4,7 ha. The walls were 3 metres thick facing land sides,  and 2,5 metres thick facing the Rhine side, reaching to a height 9 m with 20 towers – this was a formidable fort and is today one of the best preserved Roman forts in Germany.

German Government Bunker

Near the small town of Ahrweiler, the Cold War bunker served as a secure location for the German government to operate from in the event of a nuclear attack. Built underground between 1960 and 1972, it is an extraordinary feat of engineering as the bunker was designed to withstand a direct hit from a nuclear strike. It could accommodate up to 4,000 people for several weeks. Today visitors can take guided tours of the facility and see the living quarters, communication centres, and medical facility.

Roman Mine, Meurin

Vulkanpark is a rural geo-attraction focussed on a volcanic region in the eastern Vulkan Eifel area of Germany. A series of self-guided routes enable visitors to explore volcanology, archaeology and industrial history – and understand how the exploitation of volcanic rock has shaped the landscape since Roman times. Besides the Roman mine, the routes also take in a section of Roman walls near the town of Mayen and two Roman mound graves just outside the towns of Nickenich and Ochtendung.

Weilberg Villa, Bad Dürkheim

In 1981 the remains of a Roman Villa were excavated, and the walls partly reconstructed. Excavations revealed a wine press, and the slopes on which the villa’s ruins are found are still used to grow vines today. The earliest habitation is thought to have been around 50 BCE, but construction of the main stone-built villa began in the 2nd century CE. The site was abandoned by the 5th century. In all the Roman site is about 7.5 hectares. Today the site, which includes a reconstruction of the main house, is an open air museum.

Limeskastell, Pohl

The replica of the Limes fort at Pohl is based on excavations and up-to-date research. The Roman fort was on the northern border of the Empire, and was built around 100 CE. Today this open air museum is part of the Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reconstructed buildings within the earth and wood rampart house permanent exhibitions showing what the living conditions at the fort were like for soldiers, as well as displaying artefacts from nearby Roman sites.

Museums & Art Galleries in Rhineland-Palatinate

Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Trier

Founded in 1877, this state museum exhibits artefacts from prehistory to the Baroque period, some 200,000 years of history from stone tools to elaborate Medieval art. Not surprisingly, a major focus of the museum is the Roman period, for which there are numerous displays that draw on the many archaeological finds excavated in Trier that tell the story of the Roman city of Augusta Treverorum. One particular highlight is the Trier Gold Hoard, found in 1993 it is the largest known hoard of Roman gold coins.

LVR-RömerMuseum, Xanten

A life-size protective structure has been erected over the ruins of a bath house, that resembles the outer appearance of the Roman building. The LVR-Römer Museum is housed in what would have been the entrance hall to that building. Visitors are able to view the foundations and various features of that 2,000 year old bath house, as well the exhibition of the many objects found in and around the Colonia of Roman Xanten. Displays are organised chronologically, and tell the history of this important Roman city.

Romano-Germanic Central Museum, Mainz

In June 2017 the Roman-Germanic Central Museum housed in the Electoral Palace of Mainz closed to the public in preparation for the move to Neutorstraße. Expected to open in 2024, there will be around 200,000 artefacts displayed in a new, state-of-the-art facility covering an estimated 14,500 square meters of exhibition space.