Aventicum (Avenches)

Since its foundation in about 15 BC, Aventicum (modern-day Avenches) was the capital of the Helvetii (Civitas Helvetiorum). The Roman town had about 20,000 inhabitants and its territory, covering most of the Swiss Plateau, stood at the crossroads of an important land and water trade network. Aventicum was fortified with a wall measuring 5.5 km in length and containing four gates. Seventy-three towers allowed access to its rampart walk. After the end of Antiquity, the city served as a quarry, but several monuments still bear witness to its past grandeur. The ancient vestiges include those of a theatre, an amphitheatre, a temple and a sanctuary, the forum thermal baths and the eastern gate of the city.

Aventicum circa AD 180.
Illustration: Brigitte Gubler, Zurich

Coordinates: 46°52’50.3″N 7°02’33.8″E


The Amphitheatre.
The Amphitheatre.
The Amphitheatre.

museum highlights

The museum is housed in a fortification tower dating back to the 11th century overlooking the Roman amphitheatre. The museum houses remarkable artefacts such as a facsimile of the gold bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, elements of a hydraulic organ, a stone relief of the she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, fragments of monumental statues of the imperial family, inscriptions, wall paintings and mosaics.


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