Location: North- West of Bad Homburg, Hesse  Map

Constructed: 90 AD

March- Oct: 9am- 6pm daily
Nov- Feb: 9am- 4pm Tue- Sun

Entrance fee: EUR 5


Description of Saalburg

Saalburg is located North- West of Bad Homburg in Hesse region of Germany. Ancient Roman archeological site of Saalburg is on an UNESCO World Heritage List. You can get here from the Bad Homburg by bus 5. The original military fortifications were found by Romans in 90 AD. It is a Cohort Fort, that is part of Limes Germanicus a line of Roman defenses in the ancient provinces of Germania Superior, Germania Inferior and Raetia.


Following the two earthworks of the Domitian wars, a simple wood-earth fort was built for a numerus towards the north towards the Limes around the year 90 CE. A number was an auxiliary troop unit, which normally consisted of two centuries, i.e. a nominal strength of about 160 men. Isolated finds suggest that the number of the Saalburg could have been a number Brittonum, i.e. a unit that was originally recruited in Britain, but this assumption is not really certain.

In late Hadrian times, around the year 135, the numerus fort was replaced by a 3.2 hectare camp for a cohort, an infantry unit of almost 500 men. The ground plan of this fort was now aligned with the Roman city of Nida and initially provided with a wood-stone wall built using drywall construction, which was only replaced by a mortared stone wall with an earth ramp in the second half of the 2nd century. This final construction phase also corresponds to the reconstruction of the fort with its dimensions of 147 by 221 meters. Fragments of the dry stone wall can still be seen in the Retentura (rear area of ​​the fort) and a section of the defensive moat belonging to the wood-earth fort was left open or restored and can be viewed there.

The crew of the cohort fort, which was presumably subordinate to the legionary command in Mogontiacum (Mainz), was the Cohors II Raetorum civium Romanorum ("2nd cohort of Roman citizenship"), a nearly 500-strong infantry unit. The cohort was originally located in Aquae Mattiacorum (Wiesbaden) and from there, after being stationed again in Fort Butzbach (ORL 14), was finally commanded to the Saalburg.

The fort existed in this form and with this occupation until the fall of the Limes around the year 260. The name of the unit is mentioned repeatedly in stone inscriptions during this time and the names of individual commanders have been passed down to us in this way.

At the beginning of the 3rd century, times on the Limes became more restless. A preventive war by the Roman emperor Caracalla, who advanced in 213 from Raetien and Mogontiacum (Mainz) against the Alamanni and the Chattas allied with them, only temporarily reduced the Germanic pressure on the imperial border. Nida (today Frankfurt-Heddernheim), the backward civilian capital of the Civitas Taunensium received a fortification ring and as early as 233 the Alemanni invaded Roman areas again. There were further major Alemannic incursions in 254 and 260. Finally, the entire area on the right bank of the Rhine was lost in the middle of the third century during the internal and external political and economic crisis of the empire. In connection with these events, the Saalburg fort seems to have been evacuated as planned without fighting.

After the end of the Upper Germanic Limes, the dilapidated fort was used as a quarry until the protection measures and excavation activities began around the middle of the 19th century.