Uncover the archaeological heritage of Cologne and the surrounding area from the Palaeolithic period to the early Middle Ages in this captivating museum.
Built in 1974 in the center of Cologne and in the immediate vicinity of Cologne Cathedral, it has so far welcomed more than 20 million visitors through its doors. The museum stands on the foundations of a Roman villa with the world-famous Dionysius mosaic. Explore three floors of collections which provide a glimpse into Roman culture on the Rhine from its location just south of the Cathedral. Before you even enter, you'll be able to see the monumental tomb of the veteran legionary Poblicius through a viewing pane.
Cologne's Roman heritage
Walking through the streets of this contemporary German City, you might be surprised to know that there's an abundance of Roman treasures hidden beneath the surface. Yet Cologne was a major city during the Roman Empire, and much that has been discovered from this era is on display in the Romano-Germanic Museum. Cologne was initially a small town adjacent to a Roman fort, but the wife of Emperor Claudius was born there, and in AD 15 she persuaded her husband to raise the town to the status of city; Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, which is where the city's name comes from. The museum not only houses the artifacts from the Roman city but is a Roman site in itself. The basement covers the ruins of a significant villa and the large Dionysus mosaic is on display is in its original location. Every year, there are several excavations to preserve archaeological remains, devoted to all the phases of the city's cultural history: Palaeolithic relics, finds from the Neolithic, Iron and Bronze Age cultures, Roman and medieval finds and relics from the more recent past.
Ancient history in a modern setting
The museum is housed in a modern complex; a rectangular structure that appears to be suspended over a pair of glass boxes. The collections are spread over three floors and arranged according to theme and explores everyday Roman and Neolithic life. Highlights include the remarkable Dionysius mosaic, the biggest collection of Roman glass vessels in the world and 100,000 year old stone tools from the Kartstein Cave in the Eifel. Discover decorated architectural elements, stone inscriptions, portraits, wall-paintings, mosaics and exquisite tableware, which reflect the lives and luxuries of Roman Cologne.
Marvel at the reconstructed Roman carriage complete with a fine set of decorative bronze fittings and the medieval copy of a Roman map, which gives you an idea of the size and detail of the Empire's road system. Whether it's gravestones, burial goods or fine jewelry, the artifacts on display in this fascinating museum give visitors a tantalizing glimpse into what life might have been like during the Empire's heyday in the Rhine region.