The Harbour Temple at the Xanten Archaeological Park (Germany)

The Harbour Temple (Colonia Upia Traiana)
LVR-Archaeological Park Xanten / LVR-RömerMuseum
* Trajanstraße 4, 46509 Xanten, Germany * Phone: +49 (0) 28 01 / 712 – 0 * *

In the Archaeologie Park resides a partially reconstructed ruins of an ancient Roman temple of which is unknown which God/dess(es) were worshipped. It stands tall with columns and partially reconstructed walls to give the visitors an idea of the size of the monument and what it may have looked like. Climbing downstairs, the originally walls and structure can be found and protected from the elements as was left after excavation. Interpretive signs in German surround the inside of the basement to explain the temple. It is named “the Harbour temple”, which is probably the most phenomenal structure on the Park’s grounds. Easy to see from a distance, towering as a high-profile landmark of Roman culture far above the city walls, clearly visible from ships approaching the Colonia Ulpia Triana on the river Rhine. The temple was the second-largest in the city after the Capital and is similar to most Roman temple designs. It would have been dedicated to a deity but research has not revealed the identity of this God/dess. It was given the name of “Harbour Temple” during the excavations on account of its proximity to the harbour. There are several parts of the temple reconstructed on a three metre high podium. Several full-sized pillars were reconstructed with roof beam fitted to give some impression of the effect created by this magnificent edifice of a total height of 27 meters. Details of the Temple reproduced on the basis of innumerable fragments found during the excavations. One of the pillars has been painted in colour to illustrate the temple’s originally magnificent colouring. Wide and thin steps lead up to the temple’s podium and its cella where the ritual acts took place. In the Roman times, only a select group of people could enter the temple, ordinary mortals were not allowed. The foundation plate of the temple and its innumerable fragments were discovered during the excavations in 1977, many of which are on exhibit in the Museum. You can view the foundation through the back of the temple, for the reconstructed building stands over it like a protective shield.

The Harbour Temple

Inside the Reconstructed Temple

Actual remains of the Temple

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