World Heritage Sites of Bavaria – Upper Germanic Roman Limes

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Day trip to Weißenburg in Bayern

In after-lockdown Europe, traveling near is becoming a new trend. Destinations within a convenient distance from the home base are great for quenching one’s wanderlust. Our trips often begin in Munich. Close to the Bavarian Capital, there’s much to explore.

The Roman Limes

The Roman Limes is a collective name for a Roman fortification system. Remains of Limites stretch all over Europe, from the UK in the west to Slovakia in the east.

Two thousand years ago, the Upper Germanic Roman Limes protected the Roman Empire from the ‘barbaric’ Germania. Along with the forts of the Limes, settlements arose. Throughout centuries, they evolved into significant towns. In today’s Germany, traces of the ancient frontier spread over 550 kilometers (ca. 340 miles) between the rivers Rhine and Danube. Together they make one of the most important archeological monuments of Europe with a UNESCO World Heritage status.

The Roman Town Weißenburg in Bayern

Roughly 135 kilometers (ca. 84 miles) to the north from Munich, on the southern edge of the Fränkische Alb (Franconian Jura) highlands, lies the lovely Bavarian town Weißenburg. In the year 90 AD, Roman troops built a strategic fort Biriciana here. 10 years later, a spa followed.

Nowadays, the remains of the fortification stand on the western edge of the town as Kastell Weißenburg, the German name for Fort Biriciana. At the end of the 1980s, archeologists recreated the North Gate of the fort. Together with monument preservation specialists, they brought Roman history back to life. In the Roman museum of Weißenburg, visitors can learn about the history and life along Limes. It also displays the biggest Roman treasure found in Germany.

Around Weißenburg, relics of forts, watchtowers, and walls define the area. Some are visible and stand out of the ground, while others hide beneath bushes and fields. For exact locations, follow the stops on the German Limes Road (Deutsche Limes-Straße) and get to know Limes on foot, by bike, or in a car.

Tip: For locations around Weißenburg, use the town’s official website with GPS coordinates: www.weissenburg.de/roemer.

‘Barbaric’ tribes destroyed the Roman fortification and settlement around 250 AD. In the 9th century AD, Weißenburg began to write its modern history. It became a free imperial city in the 14th century. The Old Town, with almost intact medieval walls, survived to this day.

The Ellinger Tor (Ellinger Gate), dating back to the 14th century, is the town’s most famous medieval landmark. In the center, centuries-old half-timbered buildings mix with noble baroque houses. It creates the city’s specific charm.

Getting there

The most time-efficient way is to use a car. Yet, a train ride via Nuremberg is a good alternative. A direct connection from Munich using the Regionalbahn (regional train) takes 2 hours.

Caution: Due to COVID-19 pandemic, research opening times and ticket availabilities before visiting. We recommend booking a table for lunch. In small towns, a phone call a few hours in advance or the night before should be sufficient. Following the instructions of the staff is crucial. In Bavaria, the law requires restaurant guests to provide their contact information. When not seated at your table, wearing a face mask covering your nose and mouth is compulsory. Also, check how many households can share a table without being at 1,5 meters (about 5 feet) apart from each other. You can find more information at www.bavaria.by/information-coronavirus and detailed FAQs on the website of the Bavarian State Ministry of the Interior (German only). Usually, hotels and restaurants can help their guests with questions regarding the restrictions as well.

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