Aschaffenburg lies on the bend of the Main, just outside the former Roman imperial border on the Main Limes. However, its own history begins even earlier, archaeological finds prove the presence of a Celtic upper class, before the Aschaffenburg city hill became an important place on the old Roman imperial border in late antiquity. In addition to its mild climate, the town owes its southern flair above all to its Italian-inspired architecture and art from the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 19th century, the construction of the Pompejanum and the architectural models of ancient Roman buildings made of cork added a further Mediterranean touch. Supplemented by impressive archaeological finds and qualified guided tours, a visit to Aschaffenburg can become an experience of Roman life and activity.
Pompejanum, Johannisburg Palace with Palace Church, Bavarian State Painting Collections, Jesuit Church Art Gallery, Christian Schad Museum (from 4th June 2022 on), Parish Church of Our Lady, Old Town, Sundial, Collegiate Basilica of St. Peter and Alexander, Abbey Museum, Sand Church, Natural Science Museum, Gentil House, Museum of Jewish History and Culture, Art Landing, KirchnerHAUS Museum Aschaffenburg, Park and Schönbusch Palace.
The Roman section of the Archaeological Collections provides a representative overview of the Roman period with numerous grave and votive stones, objects of daily use, including particularly beautiful vessels and picture bowls made of terra sigillata, small works of art made of bronze, iron, ceramics and an important coin collection from Stockstadt. The finds from the Roman civilian settlements and military camps along the Limes in Stockstadt and Niedernberg are significant. A unique example is a bronze fountain mask from the middle of the 2nd century AD, which shows a wine-sipping Silen from the entourage of Dionysus. In addition to a Roman "metre stick" and fragments of a military diploma, an iron face helmet from the middle of the 2nd century AD also points to the military importance of the landscape on the Roman border. Several remains of Jupiter- giant-columns also come from there, as they were found as Roman imperial insignia in many Roman settlements and estates. With the end of the Roman Empire, they were mostly destroyed and parts of them - the four-god stones - were often reused in church buildings.
As a relic of the Mithras cult, which was extremely popular and widespread among the military, a Mercury enthroned with a Dionysus boy, ram and turtle can be seen, as well as one of the extremely rare bronze Mithras hands. Since the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes was elevated to World Heritage status in 2005, a small exhibition room illustrates the differences in the historical reality of life between Romans and Germanic tribes at the border.
In 1840-48, King Ludwig I, a fan of antiquities, had an ideal replica of a Roman house from Pompeii, called the Pompejanum, built according to plans by the architect Friedrich von Gärtner. The splendid painting and interior design according to Roman models are complemented by original ancient Roman sculptures and objects of everyday Roman life from the holdings of the State Collections of Classical Antiquities and provide an excellent opportunity to study ancient culture. The immediate surroundings of the Pompejanum were laid out in the style of a Mediterranean landscape. Flowering wisteria, richly hung fig trees, bitter orange, lavender, roses and agaves enhance the Mediterranean charm here. The State Collections of Classical Antiquities show annually changing special exhibitions with valuable antique exhibits on the 1st floor of the Pompejanum. The Pompejanum is only open during the summer months from April to October. At other times, the VR Experience provides an insight into the rooms.
Reproducing ancient buildings in cork developed in Italy from the art of cot making and experienced a heyday around 1800. Under Archbishop and later Grand Duke Carl Theodor von Dalberg, his court confectioner Carl May created numerous cork models of ancient Roman buildings. The models of his son Georg Heinrich May are particularly large and detailed. The architectural model of the Colosseum he created, for example, is not only the largest existing model with a diameter of 312cm, but is particularly fascinating because of its wealth of detail. With 52 models, the cork model collection in Johannisburg Castle is the largest in the world.
Nilkheimer Park is located approx. 3 km southwest of the city centre of Aschaffenburg on the left bank of the Main next to the Schönbusch Landscape Park. In the north-eastern part of the park lie the foundation walls of the fort baths of the Stockstadt Roman camp. Already uncovered during the construction of the Aschaffenburg pulp works in 1895 (later PWA - Papierwerke Waldhof-Aschaffenburg, today Sappi GmbH), an expansion of the pulp works in 1968 made it necessary to dismantle the fort bath. It was then dismantled in Stockstadt and transferred to Nilkheimer Park. This was the first time that an ancient ruin had been moved in Germany. The fort baths, originally built around 110 AD, were originally located to the east of the Roman fort, 50 m from its main entrance, the porta praetoria, between the fort wall and the harbour complex on the Main. Today, a large bronze plaque on site explains the extent and function of the former Roman baths. Such a public bath was a necessary basic feature of every Roman civitas and especially in every larger Roman garrison on the imperial border. Many of the bricks used to build the floor heating (hypocausts) bear the stamp of the LEGXXIIPPF (=Legio XXII Primigenia Pia Fidelis). It was stationed in the provincial capital of Mainz and operated its own brickworks in Frankfurt-Nied. Shipped on the Rhine and Main, these bricks were used throughout the Rhine-Main region.
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