Tawern Temple Complex

The Roman Temple Tawern (German: Römischer Tempelbezirk Tawern) is a reconstructed Gallo-Roman sanctuary on the Metzenberg in Tawern near Trier (western Germany). The original sanctuary was built in the 1st century AD above a major road leading from Divodurum Mediomatricorum (modern-day Metz) to Augusta Treverorum (modern-day Trier) and was used until the end of the 4th century AD.

Coordinates: 49° 39′ 51.31″ N, 6° 30′ 34.41″ E

The sanctuary was excavated in 1986-88 and seven buildings of various periods and of different sizes and plans were found within the complex. Under the direction of the Rheinisches Landesmuseum of Trier, the temple district and a large building were partially reconstructed on the original foundations. The finds (especially coins) revealed that the temple district was constructed in the first half of the 1st century AD and was used right up until late into the 4th century AD. Travellers on the nearby main Roman road would have stopped at the sanctuary to thank the gods for their successful journey or to invoke blessings while on their way to Rome.

Mercury the god of trade, commerce and travel was the main deity worshipped at the sanctuary. The slightly larger than life-size limestone head found in the water well came from a statue of the god. With the help of this find, a reconstruction of the statute was produced in 2002 which is exhibited in the large Temple of Mercury. Five inscriptions found at the site were also dedicated to Mercury.

The sacred area, surrounded by walls, had a trapezoidal ground plan. It was entered through a small gate. The construction plan had several construction phases. The first phase shows that there were five temples arranged side by side. Various gods were worshipped, among them the god Mercury, the goddess Epona, Apollo as well as Isis-Serapis. The temple district was later extended to cover a total area of 48 m in width and 36 m in depth. Three temples were demolished to give way for the great main temple.

At the north-west corner of one temple, a water well originally more than 15m deep was unearthed. It was filled with stones, earth and architectural parts. There were also fragments of inscriptions and figurative reliefs.

In the village of Tawern, at the foot of the Metzenberg, one can also see the remains of the small Gallo-Roman town (vicus) whose antique name was Tabernae. The name of the vicus was preserved in the modern name of the village, Tawern. The inhabitants of the vicus mainly provided goods and services for travellers. The nearby sanctuary attracted numerous pilgrims. A total of nine buildings were excavated on both sides of the Roman road.

PORTFOLIO

The entrance to the complex, a Jupiter Column.
The main entrance to the sacred complex. A reconstructed Jupiter Column was also added.
The reconstruction main temple of the sanctuary dedicated to Mercury.
The reconstruction main temple of the sanctuary dedicated to Mercury.
The reconstruction main temple of the sanctuary dedicated to Mercury.
The reconstruction main temple of the sanctuary dedicated to Mercury with Tuscan columns on three sides.
Reconstruction of the Mercury statue inside of the main temple dedicated to the god.
Reconstruction of the Mercury statue inside the cella of the main temple dedicated to the god. The cella was 7.50 m long and 5.70 m wide.
The reconstruction main temple of the sanctuary dedicated to Mercury.
The reconstruction main temple of the sanctuary dedicated to Mercury.
The modern inscription dated to August 1, 1989 honors the excavators of the site (Dr. Sabine Faust and Dr. Karl-Josef Gilles).
Immediately before handling sandstone channels are laid, which catch and dissipate the rainwater flowing from the roof. Parts are still in the original and original place.
On the floor, sandstone water channels were laid out around and between the temples. They were used to catch and disperse the rainwater flowing from the roof.
The foundations of Temple III.
The foundations of Temple III.
The reconstructed Temple II, the the only one that has been preserved during all the construction phases of the temple district.
The reconstructed Temple II, the only original temple that was preserved during the different construction phases of the sanctuary.
In the temple stood a statue of the gods, which was revered here, probably the Celtic horse goddess Epona. She was the goddess of the drivers, the horses and mules. The relief depicted here, which was found in the well, gives a hint. It shows the goddess on a horse.
In the cella of Temple II stood a statue of the god, probably the Celtic goddess Epona. She was a protector of horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules. The relief dedicated to Epona inside the cella is a replica of the original one found inside the well. The wall painting colours of the cella are based on finds of plaster remnants.
The foundations of the early temples and a well.
The foundations of the early temples and the reconstructed well.
The back entrance to the sanctuary.
The back entrance to the sanctuary.
The reconstructed building just outside the sanctuary. Its function of the professional building has so far not been very clear. It is hardly a dwelling-house of one or more priests. The large room to the side of the mountain was probably closed by a wall - unlike in the present reconstruction. He might have served as a stable. Perhaps the travelers could strengthen themselves in the Profangebäude and buy souvenirs, sacrificances or Weihengaben.
The reconstructed building just outside the sanctuary. Its function is not very clear but it might have served as a stable.
Profangebäude
The interior of the reconstructed building just outside the sanctuary which may have served as a stable.
The main entrance to the sacred complex.
The main entrance to the sacred complex.

 

The Tawern Temple Complex.
The Tawern Temple Complex.

 

The vicus Tabernae located along the major Roman road leading from Divodurum Mediomatricorum (modern-day Metz) to Augusta Treverorum (modern-day Trier).
The vicus Tabernae located along the major Roman road leading from Divodurum Mediomatricorum (modern-day Metz) to Augusta Treverorum (modern-day Trier).
Computer reconstruction of the vicus and the four-sided arch.
Computer reconstruction of the vicus and the four-sided arch.

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).

The temple area is not fenced and can therefore be visited around the clock. Admission is free.

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