Picturesquely nestled between the hills of Spessart and Odenwald, Miltenberg, Bürgstadt and Kleinheubach, the THREE ON THE MAIN, await you - lined up along the blue belt of the Main river.
Miltenberg lies at the southernmost point of the younger Main Limes at the end of the so-called "wet border". Under Emperor Antoninus Pius, the "wet limes" along the Main between Großkrotzenburg and Wörth was extended to Miltenberg and Bürgstadt. From here, the "firm Limes" led via Walldürn, Osterburken and Lorch to the Danube.
Roman sights: Roman section in the Museum Stadt Miltenberg at the Schnatterloch, Roman section in the Museum Bürgstadt at the Mittelmühle, Old Town fort and Eastern fort, Roman pottery kiln in today's house "Maria Regina", watchtowers, circular walk "M1 Römer-Weg".
Other sights: Historic Old Town, Museum Stadt Miltenberg, Mildenburg with Museum Burg Miltenberg.
Many finds from the Miltenberg Ost/Bürgstadt numerus fort, such as pottery with pictures and inscriptions, writing utensils, jewellery and many everyday objects of the time can be seen in the "Roman Department". The centrepiece of the exhibition is a reconstructed hearth, the floor of which is partly covered with original stones.
Am Mühlgraben 1
The Roman presence has left lasting and significant traces in Miltenberg. The area of the Limes fort Miltenberg Altstadt was already touched during the construction of the railway in 1875. But it was only after several years of excavation campaigns between 1970 and 1976 and 1988 to 1989 that the earth revealed further secrets of Miltenberg's Roman period with important finds. A considerable part of these can be seen - thematically prepared - in the Museum Stadt Miltenberg. On one and a half floors, all the impressive pieces are presented that were recovered from the Miltenberg earth during the last century and a half: Victoria column, inscription and votive stones, a mysterious touton stone, coins, tools, weapons, ceramics, glass and jewellery as well as a beautiful small bronze Mars head are on display.
Museum Stadt Miltenberg
The large cohort fort, the so-called "Old Town fort", is located somewhat downstream from Miltenberg. It takes its name from Miltenberg's predecessor settlement, the town of Wallhausen. It literally stood on the ruins of the Roman fort.
Of the "Old Town fort", which was designed for 480 men - cavalrymen and infantrymen - only the remains of walls and parts of the bath as well as traces of the medieval use of the area in the form of a church ruin are visibly preserved. An inscription on a votivE altar from the sanctuary of Mercury, which existed on the Greinberg, shows that the Cohors I Sequanorum et Rauracorum equitata was quartered in this fort. The troops had built the fort first as a wood-and-earth camp and then extended it in stone.
Outside the fort, directly at the west gate, the Victoria Column was found, which is now on display in the Museum Stadt Miltenberg.
The remains of the Roman baths are located not far from the present-day Kneipp facility near the "Parkhof" restaurant between Miltenberg and Kleinheubach. It is remarkable that the Romans already had hot and cold running water here, a sewage system and heated floors and walls, so-called hypocausts - a standard of hygiene and comfort that was only achieved again in the 20th century. The Romans also brought the practise to write to the region; after the Romans left (around 250 AD), it took several centuries before writing was practised here again.
Upstream, 2.3 km as the crow flies from the Old Town fort, is the numerus fort Miltenberg Ost/Bürgstadt, the Eastern fort (86 m x 74 m, for 160 men), which secured the beginning of the Limes on the river bank. The 0.6 ha fort, discovered in 1912, is today completely covered by residential buildings. The fortification had four gates and was surrounded by a Spitzgraben (a type of ditch); the porta praetoria led to the Main river.
The "garrison" of the eastern fort, Numerus exploratorum Seiopensium, is also known from the votive stone from the Mercury shrine on the Greinberg. On the Greinberg, directly above Miltenberg, there was a temple district. Some of the votive stones are now in the Miltenberg Museum. There was already a wooden sanctuary at this site in Celtic times.
Auxiliary troops from the Roman provinces were stationed in the forts and were granted Roman citizenship upon honourable discharge after 25 years of service. Women and children, craftsmen and former soldiers lived in the camp villages in front of the forts. From the civilian settlement of the numerus fort Miltenberg Ost/Bürgstadt, which is not visible, an excavated pottery kiln was preserved during construction work, was restored and is accessible in the Maria Regina House (Caritas retirement home). There, information boards and a film provide additional information. Explanations of the history of the Romans in the Miltenberg area are provided by information boards at the "Parkhof", at the Old Folk High School (between the Main and St. James), in Bürgstadt (Am Stadtweg) and at the watchtowers.
Would you like to learn more about the Romans in and around Miltenberg? Ask for guided tours with historian Wilhelm Otto Keller or Limes Cicerona Dorothea Zöller.
The M1 Römer-Weg is a quality circular hiking trail certified by the Odenwaldklub (regional hiking club) and marked with a green M1 on a white background. The quality criteria relevant for certification promise a special nature and hiking experience.
The M1 Römer-Weg begins at the market place (Schnatterloch). Walk past the town parish church of St. James to the Main river and along the new Main promenade down the Main to the west. At the Schwertfeger gate (car park), cross the Mainstraße and walk up the Bismarckweg up the hill via steps. At the top, turn right and walk in a wide arc with magnificent views over Miltenberg, the Main and Mud valleys, up to the height of the Greinberg to the circular rampart, whose age experts estimate at 3,000 years. Its maximum extent is 600 by 400 metres. In 1878, a mysterious touton stone was found near the circular rampart, the inscription of which has not been interpreted to this day. Here the Romans paid homage to the god Mercury. Finds can be seen in the museum of the town of Miltenberg.
The M1 leads only a short distance over the southeastern part of the circular rampart and then, staying on a path at the height of the mountain, runs towards Haagsaussicht. At Haagsaussicht, where red sandstone was quarried between 1890 and 1980, you can enjoy the magnificent view over the Main valley. On a clear day, you can make out the heights of the Taunus with the Feldberg mountain. Continue along the path to the stone cross. From here, walk downhill along the Limes hiking trail. There you will find the foundation walls of Roman watchtowers and some informative panels on the life at this intersection of Rome and Germania. At the Schützenhaus, the M1 leaves the Limes hiking trail by turning left. A little above the city limits of Miltenberg, we walk in a long curve through the forest to the Ottostein and return to the market square via the Felsenmeer (Sea of rocks). Shortly before, at the Conradyweg subway, it is worth making a detour to Mildenburg Castle.
15.5 km, 4.40 h, 495 metres altitude difference - medium
The watchtowers of the Limes were excavated around 1890 by the Imperial Limes Commission. In 2010 and 2011, the foundations of three watchtowers along the Limes hiking trail were reconstructed and the rubble and debris of the towers were preserved. Here, too, panels provide information.