Aquincum lies north along the Danube only a short distance from downtown. Its real history began in 106 A.D., when Emperor Trajan declared this frontier military base the capital of Rome's Pannonia Inferior territory and some 40,000 soldiers and civilians settled here, creating a sophisticated archaic metropolis, but together with Rome - the inevitable decline of Aquincum came, as well.
Only more hundred years later were discovered the ruins. Today at Aquincum visitors can see statues, paintings, coins, and a lot of very interesting ancient things within the walls where these artifacts were new sometime. Between remnants of houses and courtyards slender roads of yore lead to the ruins of marketplace, baths, gymnasium, and a shrine.
The commander's palace named Hercules Villa has been named for its tesselated pavement depicting the wife of the legendary greek hero being abducted by Nessus centaur.
Entry fee: Adults: 900.- HUF, Students, pennsioners: 450.- HUF
The archeological site includes more or less the third part of the original town.
Even though there are other roman sites nearby for example in the Hajógyári Island and at the Pest brigdehead of the Elisabeth bridge (Contra Aquincum), on the Flórián square (close to the Buda side of the Árpád bridge). On this page you can find a summary of the roman records in Budapest
Well, it`s not exactly Pompei or Herculaneum, but it`s an important historical site anyway.
The centuries made the old buildings disappear, but thanks to the modern tecnology you can still see how the place was once: the Museum set up so called cronoscopes: this device is like a telescope. When you watch the ruins through it, you can see the original buildings. I found it very interesting.
An advice: if you rent a bycicle in the city centre, you can approach Aquincum easily because there is a bycicle way from the city centre.
The main building of the Aquincum archeological site was built in 1894 and on the 10th of may of that year recieved the first visitors.
It`s style is so convincingly romanic that-I admit- for a long time I thought it was an original but reconstructed roman building:)
Well, it isn`t >;-) It was built in the style of a greek-roman temple.
Anyway, it has the central part in wich you can see the most important reliques and two wings on both side of the central part.
Here you can see some nice stones with roman texts, fragments of statues and reliefes. (see next tip)-->
Well, this is what remained of the big Amphitheatre of Aquincum one of the many similars built by the great Roman Empire throughout Europe and the Middle East.
It`s diameter is 90 metres wich exeeds the one of the Colosseum`s but of course there is no comparision in the other aspects with the most famous of the amphitheatres. Neighther in capability (12000-->50000) nor in beauty. Nevertheless it was very popular in it`s time.
After the fall of the Roman empire noone needed such a spectacle anymore. So the people started slowly to dismantle it with the old palaces, the other Amphitheatre the centre of Acquincum and the Castrum of Pest. This procedure accelerated when the Buda castle was constructed. The lowest and oldest parts of the Castle were partially built of these rocks.
Actually this Amphitheatre is a bit distant from Aquincum. You can find it 4 bus stops-6,86,60 (towards North) from the Margareth Bridge in a huge square.
The Romans built the town of Aquincum, in what is now the Obuda District of Budapest. No one knew the Romans had built a town here until the end of the nineteenth century. The monuments visible today reflect the results of restoration work carried out between the early 1960's and the beginning of the 1970's and there are still remains waiting to be unearthed. Unfortunately there is a busy road next to the site, and the area looks rundown and scruffy. The museum is only open from mid April until the end of October but the remains are easily seen from outside the wall.
The following came from : http://www.fsz.bme.hu/hungary/budapest/bptour/bpduna03.htm
"The town was founded in the first century A.D. by the Roman legions which had occupied the region they called Pannonia, and which is today's Transdanubia. The military settlement was situated on the site of today's Óbuda, to the south of Árpád Bridge. Aquincum was a civilian town surrounded by walls, with aqueducts, sewers and paved streets. Artisans, tradesmen and vine-growers lived here, but in the fourth century the repeated attacks of the Barbarians forced the population to leave the city. Gradually even the walls disappeared; the foundations came to light only during excavations which, though started at the end of the eighteenth century, have only recently become regular and continuous."
When I went to visit these ruins I could'nt help but feel unfortunate to not have lived in those times and to witness a structure like that of the Aquincum. I passed by barred rooms that once held eager gladiators and tigers for battle. Now it hold only trash and homelessness. The ruins seem odd set amoung modern aparment complexes and outdoor cafes. Now the locals use it as a dog park.
One of the biggest buildings of Aquincum is the Great Public Bath. Here you can see many rooms where people came to have a bath. You can read all the termal things that were used like the frigidarium, tepidarium and calidarium. In each room you can see a cannal where the water arrive from the Danube river. In the calidarium you can see many oven which were used to give out heat the water. Outside the Bath there was sanctuary of Godess Fortuna Augusta and some shops.
On the other side of the forum and of the main road there is the ruins of the buildings of the law-court. Business transactions were also carried out in the law-court building in addition to the administrations of justice. People could enter three naved building across a colonnadedporch from the main road running to the Danube. At both sides of the entrance there were larger council rooms. A row of similarly-sized office rooms and shops opened behind them. It is possible that these rooms and shops once bordered a small market-place. The corridors led into an open courtyard paved with stone slabs where a pedestal suggests the presence of a small chapel. There was a well beside the chapel in the courtyard. A fragment of a marble portrait of an emperor from the second half of the 3rd century AD or from the beginning of the 4th century AD came to light in this well.
When you leave the entrance the first thing that you see is the Forum with the large sanctuary. The administrative, religious and economic centre of the town was the forum, situated at the juncton of the two main roads. Below the brick pacement at its colonnaded entrance was a channel for draining water from the central open courtyard. On both sides of the enrtance there werw rooms, once decorated with monumental statues. Today, only the pedestals of the statues have survived. Behind them was a cenrtal courtyard, paved with stone slabs and encircled by a colonnade. A small area opened from here surrounding the large sanctuary with an altar at its center where sacrifices were offered. Behind the altar several steps led to the colonnaded shrine on a podium. There was a row of rooms on three sides of the sanctuary courtyard. At present only one of them, the eastern main hall, has been excavated, the assembly hall for the municipal officials. The room had floor heating and was decorated with colourful wall paintings. The building was rebuilt seceral times between 2nd and 4 th century AD. A column capital decorated with the head of Jupiter Amon on the entrance porch pillar comes from a reconstruction dated to the beginning of the 3rd century AD.
Aquincum is an old Roman town, locate just outside Budapest, built by the Legio II Adjitrix in the first years of the Roman Empire. Under the Emperor Traiano this town became the capital of the Inferior Pannonia and with Emperor Adrian it became a municipality. It was destroyed by Sarmati and it was rebuilt in the 194 AD. When the Unnies started to arrive the town was deserted and the stones of the Romans buildings were used to built new houses.
When you arrive you can see the ruins of what, many years ago, was a fantastic town.
Budapest has had many rulers and settlers come through and put their stamp upon it. The Romans were here for many, many years and the ruins of their original settlement are right in the center of Obuda (Old Buda).
The Romans conquered the area around today's Budapest in around 35BC and it became part of the Roman Empire within the province of Pannonia. In Roman times Danube acted as a defensive barrier against attacks from the Asiatic tribes. The Roman settlement was called Aquincum and its ruins can be found in Obuda part of modern Budapest. There were two amphitheatres in Aquincum, the one closer to the center is known as Military Amphitheatre.
The amphitheater has an elliptical shape, and was built taking advantage of a natural depression. Today it is set in a modern square surrounded by roads and modern blocks of buildings. It is believed that it could host as many as 10-13 thousand people.
There are more Roman ruins in Obuda neighbourhood, and Aquincum museum (see link below) offers comprehensive presentation of this period of the city.
For Roman history buffs, a visit to the ruins around Aquincum on a warm afternoon is worth a visit. (Open from May to October) Aquincum is the area where you can see remains of the former military fortification of the Roman settlement of Pannonia. The large excavated area is not as well preserved as other more well-known Roman sites, but a small museum toward the back of the settlement recreates scenes from the times of the Romans. You can also study a model of the settlement as it looked in its time.
In the centre of the remains of this Roman Settlement is the Aquincum Museum where pottery moulds, jewels, metal, glass, bronze tools, wallpaintings and floor mosaics from the governer's palace on Obuda Island are on view. Outside you will find entire columns, large sculptures and stone sarcophagi.