The Villa Borg – images of a reconstructed Roman Villa in Saarland (Germany)

Ruins of a grand Roman country house (villa rustica) were discovered by a local school teacher at the end of the 19th century outside the village of Borg in the municipality of Perl (Germany), near where the Saar River runs into the Moselle. The villa consisted of three wings covering an area of more than 7.5 hectares. The complex was excavated in the late 1980s.

A plan to reconstruct an authentic representation of the buildings of the Villa Rustica as they originally appeared in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD begun in 1994. The project was completed in 2008. In addition to the local findings and excavation work, the reconstruction was based on similar sites of the Saar region (such as the villa at Echternach in Luxembourg). Both antique literature (Vitruvius) and modern literature (e.g. for the reconstruction of the wall paintings) were taken into account. The reconstructed buildings now stand on the Roman foundation walls, revealing their probable appearance in the 2nd to 3rd centuries. The reconstruction provides a detailed impression of what life was like then in the countryside.

Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The Roman Villa at Borg gets 50,000 visitors a year, who come to explore the buildings including the main manor hall, bedrooms, three baths, dressing room and relaxation solarium, a kitchen and latrines, along with gate and gardens.

Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

Visitors enter the site of the Roman Villa Borg through the gatehouse. It stands on the original foundations, and today probably looks much as it did during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.

The Gatehouse, Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The reconstructed Gatehouse, Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The reconstructed Gatehouse, Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The manor hall (atrium), the main building of the villa, was and still is the structure on which the entire villa complex is focused. Like the Roman Villa at Nennig, the reception hall had a large mosaic floor, in this case in black-and-white. The plan design of the main wing led to the assumption that the building was two-storey. The manor and a number of adjacent rooms are today used as a museum in which the finds from the excavation in Borg are displayed.

The reconstructed manor hall (atrium), used as a museum, Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The reconstructed manor hall (atrium) used as a museum, Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The reconstructed manor hall (atrium), used as a museum, Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The reconstructed manor hall (atrium) used as a museum, Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

From February to July 2013, an exhibition on Roman glass (CIRCUS BEAKERS & RIBBED BOWLS ROMAN GLASSMAKERS Mark Taylor & David Hill – work show 1989-2012) was held in the reception hall. Several dozen of glass vessels found at the Villa Borg site were on display alongside hundreds of glasses reconstructions made by Mark Taylor & David Hill.

Roman glass exhibition in the reconstructed manor hall (atrium), Roman Villa Borg, Germany © Carole Raddato

Roman glass exhibition in the reconstructed manor hall (atrium), Roman Villa Borg, Germany
© Carole Raddato

In some of the rooms upstairs are exhibited furniture reproductions like stools, tables, cupboards etc.

Furniture reproductions, stools, tables, cupboards etc, Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

Furniture reproductions, stools, tables, cupboards etc, Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The exhibition area, Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The exhibition area, Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The complex also includes a fully functioning Roman bath. The baths have been rebuilt in their original way and give an indication of how important the bathing culture was in the Roman Empire. From the entrance area you reach the cold bath (frigidarium) with its large pool.

 The cold bath (frigidarium), Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The reconstructed frigidarium (cold bath), Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

Next to the reconstructed frigidarium is the caldarium, a vaulted room containing a hot bath.

The reconstructed caldarium (hot bath), Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The reconstructed caldarium (hot bath), Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The reconstructed caldarium (hot bath), Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The reconstructed caldarium (hot bath), Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

Next to the caldarium and in line with ancient bathing customs is the reconstructed laconicum, the dry sweating room of the Roman thermae. The resting room was raised to a higher temperature and had no bath in it.

The reconstructed laconicum (resting room) next to the hot bath, Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The reconstructed resting room next to the baths, Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The laconicum was heated by a hypocaust.The suspended floor, built of bridging-tiles,  was supported by pilae consisting mainly of square tiles.

The reconstructed hypocaust in the resting room next to the baths, Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The reconstructed hypocaust in the resting room next to the baths, Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The reconstructed resting room next to the baths, Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The reconstructed resting room next to the baths, Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The next room is the medium warm room of the baths. It contains a statue of Clio, the Muse of history and a reconstructed lararium, a shrine to the guardian spirits of the Roman household (Lar Familiaris). Family members performed daily rituals at this shrine to guarantee the protection of these domestic spirits, the most significant of which were the lares.

The reconstructed lararium, the sacred place of the house, Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The reconstructed lararium, the sacred place of the house, and a statue of Clio, the muse of history, Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

A lararium often had the appearance of a small temple-like structure containing a small statue, a niche in the wall, or a small freestanding shrine. The painting in the reconstructed lararium is based on a fresco from a lararium in the House of the Centenary at Pompeii. The figure of Bacchus, god of wine and fertility, stands at the foot of Mount Vesuvius.

The reconstructed lararium, the sacred place of the house, Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The reconstructed lararium, the sacred place of the house, Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

A tavern in one of the wings of the Villa Borg serves food and drinks based on Roman recipes. The Villa Borg produces its own Roman bread which you can buy at the tavern.  The bread is baked inside the reconstructed Roman kitchen (culina). The Roman cuisine is immediately adjacent to the bathhouse wing.

The reconstructed Roman kitchen (culina), Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The reconstructed Roman kitchen (culina), Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The reconstructed Roman kitchen (culina), Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The reconstructed Roman kitchen (culina), Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The gardens which have been designed as authentically as possible on the basis of pollen analysis and relevant literature, consist of a herb garden with spices and remedial plants, a flower garden as well as a kitchen garden with fruits and vegetables. The rose garden and the inner court garden are also based on Roman models and give an idea of Roman garden architecture with their fountains and footpaths.

One of the reconstructed garden, Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

One of the gardens, Villa Borg, Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The flower garden, Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

The flower garden, Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The garden, Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

One of the gardens, Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

Every year during the first weekend of August the “Roman Days” (Römertage) are being held at the Villa. Roman legionnaires, traders and craftsmen put up their camp on the estate of the Villa Borg and present the ancient way of life. The Villa also offers a year-round variety of events.

Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

Until now only the pars dominica (or urbana) has been excavated which was the residential area, exclusive to the master (dominus) and his family. Excavation work is currently being carried out in the area of the pars rustica, the area reserved for servants and workers of the farm.

Excavation work at the Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

Excavation work at the Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

The Saarland and Mosel Valley’s ancient Roman heritage has a lot to offer to tourists and scholars alike. More than 120 antique sights along the Moselle and the Saar rivers, the Saarland and Luxembourg are testament to the Gallo-Roman era north of the Alps (further information here).

Visiting the Roman Villa Borg: The villa is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm April to October and  from 11 am to 4 pm February to March and November. The site is closed on Mondays and in December and January.

Website: http://www.villa-borg.de

—–
Roman Villa Borg, Germany © Carole Raddato

Roman Villa Borg, Germany
© Carole Raddato

Nearby the Roman Villa Borg, you can visit the gladiator mosaic in Nennig, the largest and most exquisite mosaic north of the Alps. Protected by a dedicated building built about 150 years ago and covering an area of roughly 160m2, the mosaic vividly portrays musicians, scenes of hunting and gladiatorial contests. The tumulus nearby is also well worth a visit.

Further photos can be viewed from my image collection on Flickr.

Villa Borg © Carole Raddato

Villa Borg
© Carole Raddato

About followinghadrian

I came, I saw, I photographed... follow me in the footsteps of Hadrian!
This entry was posted in Archaeology Travel, Gallia Belgica, Roman villa. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Villa Borg – images of a reconstructed Roman Villa in Saarland (Germany)

  1. CM says:

    I’m getting a strong urge to recreate the calderium/frigidarium/laconicum rooms at home. When you say “fully functioning” do you mean they are actually in use?

    Like

  2. blazeaglory says:

    That is awesome! I learn something everyday from this website.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Links 2/8/2014 « Old Book Advocate

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