Modern village of Xanten
Xanten in 2006 had roughly 21,586 inhabitants. It is a small historic town that is most notorious for its role in the Roman Empire’s settlement of Germany. In the heart of the North Rhine-Westphalia state of Germany, in the district of Wesel, it is most widely and commonly known for its Archaeological Park (one of the largest in the world), its medieval picturesque city centre with Xanten Cathedral and many museums, its large man-made lake for various watersport activities as well as high standards of living. Xanten receives over one million tourists a year. Well known for its big events and faires which include the Xantener Sommerfestspiele (a prestigious classical music festival lasting 2-3 weeks every year), the annual Xantener Montmartre where artists from all over the world show their latest works as well as the annual German sandcastle-building championship. Known as one of Germany’s most affluent communitites it is a center of art, history, music, and archaeology.
The First settlements of the area were by isolated tribes that can be dated around the year 2000 BC. It was around 15 BC that the Roman camp “Castra Vetera” was developed as a base for campaigns into Germania on the Fürstenberg near today’s locality Birten. The camp was destroyedduring the uprising of the Batavians in 70 AD and was occupied by 8,000 to 10,000 legionaries making it the main base of the Classis germanica. Shortly thereafter, a second camp became established at the Bislicher Insel, named Castra Vetera II, which became the base camp of Legio VI Victrix. A nearby created settlement, which was inhabited by 10,000 to 15,000 usually former legionaries, was given the rights of a Colonia in 110 by the Roman emperor Marcus Ulpius Traianus, who also renamed the city into Colonia Ulpia Traiana. The colonia became the second most important commercial post in the province of Germania Inferior, only beaten by Colonia Agrippinensis (today’s Cologne). In 122, Vetera II became the camp of Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix, which substituted VI Victrix, moved to Britannia. [ wikipedia ] It was destroyed in 275 by the Germanic tribes and was rebuilt as the German Tricensimae city, which was meant to be smaller but fortified and more easily defended. The Christian Viktor of Xanten is supposed to have been executed together with 360 further members of the Theban Legion in 363 near the today’s town of Birten, as they refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods. Since then Viktor of Xanten has been considered by the Roman Catholic Church to be a martyr, and later a patron protecting the cathedral established over his assumed burial place. In the 5th century the Franks began to settle in the area of today’s Xanten and during the second half of the 8th Century a church was built on the grounds of an old cemetery of the ancient Roman colony and called Sanctos. In 1802 the Viktor-convent was secularized by Napoléon Bonaparte, and the libraries of closed monasteries and the convent library were merged. After this the economic situation deteriorated more rapidly. A city gate called the Marstor was torn down in 1821, and the Scharntor and parts of the city walls were removed in 1825. The removal of the Klever Tor and a mill called Kriemhildmühle was prevented by a city councillor in 1843. At the same time the ruins of the Colonia Ulpia Traiana, which had been used as a quarry since the Roman settlement was given up, aroused the interest of archaeologists. In 1975 the Archäologischer Park Xanten (Archaeological Park Xanten), a partial reconstruction of the Roman Colonia Ulpia Traiana, was established and opened for tourism. It is built on the site of the Roman town. Today it is one of the most frequently visited parks in Germany. [wikipedia]
Continue reading Xanten village, Germany