Travel through time back to the Roman Empire and get an insight into life by the Danube about 2,000 years ago. The Carnuntum Archaeological Park is no ordinary museum but showcases reconstructed houses in an open-air museum.
Carnuntum was a Roman military camp on the Danube in the province of Noricum, located in present-day Austria (in Lower Austria, about 43 km east of Vienna). From the 1st to the 4th century AD Carnuntum was a significant Roman metropolis on the outer border of the Roman Empire. Furthermore, Carnuntum became the capital of the province of Pannonia Superior with around 50,000 inhabitants. Due to the city’s location, it also served as an important military base, to secure the border and important trade routes. When the Roman Empire fell, Carnuntum lost its importance and was eventually abandoned. Over the centuries stones were used as building material elsewhere and nature slowly took over. It was almost forgotten until the first small excavations began in the 19th century.
<< Click on the images to enlarge >>
Today Carnuntum is an open-air museum where you can stroll among archaeological excavations. Some buildings have been entirely or partially reconstructed, and you can enter most of them. Furthermore, many of the rooms are furnished and give you a good impression of what they might have looked like. With a bit of imagination, you can easily time travel 2000 years back in history and put yourself in roman shoes. Try to sit on the large communal toilet, sell Roman fast food from the restaurant in the bathhouse or go through the accounts of the oil salesman at his desk. For the best site experience, try to visit during one of the historic days, which brings Carnuntum to life with activities and actors dressed in period clothes and uniforms.
The public bathhouse
By far, the most spectacular reconstruction is the large public bathhouse. Moreover, you can enter and walk around the entire bathhouse, through the large central hall, “basilica thermarum”, and on to the various rooms with different temperatures; the fridiarium, the tepidarium and the caldarium. Not only that, everything works exactly as it did 2,000 years ago. The water and underfloor heating systems have been rebuilt exactly as they were. This is the only fully functional Roman bath in the world. To make it even more realistic, there is a shoe shelf full of sandals, and someone has carelessly thrown away their robe in the changing room. In other words, not much has changed in 2000 years.
1 ticket for 3 museums
When you buy a ticket to Carnuntum, you also get admission to another 2 sites; the Museum Carnuntinum which is located in the village of Bad Deutsch-Altenburg a 4 km further east, and the amphitheatre in the military town which is on the main road between Carnuntum and Bad Deutsch-Altenburg. The museum has an extensive display of objects found in Carnuntum, with everything from coins to surgical tools to amphorae. You should plan from 30 minutes to a full hour for your visit. Next to the remnants of the military amphitheatre, there is a small gladiator exhibition well worth the 20 minutes you spend on it, to get an overall impression. Furthermore, both locations have free parking right outside.
More Roman sights outside Carnuntum
On your “tour of the Roman Empire”, don’t forget to visit the amphitheatre in the civilian part of the city, with a replica of a gladiator training arena right next to it. Finally, you should see the Heidentor (“Heathens’ Gate”), which is a ruin of a large triumphal arch that stands alone in the countryside. Both these sites are within walking distance of the Carnuntum car park, but you can also drive right up to the Arc de Triomphe.
For more info, see the museums website: Römerstadt Carnuntum
Austria’s airports are well-connected to major cities and central train stations. Therefore, we have put together a list of excellent ski resorts that are easily reachable by train, including some info on how to get there from the airport. Moreover, many ski resorts offer inexpensive or free transfers to and from the nearest train station […]
Hiking in wine regions has become popular in Austria. Many people enjoy the rolling hills and soft landscape as a contrast to the fantastic opportunities for alpine hiking in the Alps. We, therefore, ventured out on a 5.8 km (3.6 mi) long hike in southern Styria through vineyards, forest groves, and open farm landscapes. Nature […]
Situated on the banks of Lake Constance, the town of 29.000 inhabitants is a world away from Vienna at the other end of the country. The westernmost state capital of Austria – Bregenz, is best known for its annual theatre festival. However, the city also offers visitors seaside escapes, mountain hiking, and innovative architecture. Nonetheless, […]
Time travel a few hundred years back to the Middle age when the entire village was full of people dressed in historical costumes, and armed knights roamed the streets mingling with flame breathers. The Middle Ages come alive at what has become the legendary folk festival in Mauterndorf, an hour’s drive from Salzburg. Every July […]
Going on a day trip from Vienna by public transport is easy. Whether you are in Vienna by plane or have driven here by car, you can quickly go on a journey of discovery just outside the city. We have been on 4 fantastic day trips with entirely different experiences, which you can do in […]
Austria has short urban funicular railways and longer tracks that take you up the mountains. A funicular railway consists of two vehicles that counterbalance one another rather than independently operated railway cars. Furthermore, they are usually barrier-free and perfect if you are a wheelchair user or travel with a stroller. 1. Hallstatt – Salzbergbahn A […]