Roman Festival in Xanten
Swords, bread, and circuses
Every other year, around 500 performers, craftspeople, and traders participate in Europe’s largest Roman festival to bring Roman history to life. They re-enact legionaries, gladiators, or simple citizens and spirit visitors away into a different time in the Xanten Archaeological Park.
When the gladiators march into the amphitheatre of the LVR Archaeological Park Xanten with their tridents and swords drawn, the crowd goes as wild today as it did back in the first and second centuries CE. More than 25,000 people attended the Roman Festival during the weekend. Many years, some visitors even take their seats in the arena on both event days. Titus, Gaius, and Marcus will take you back to the ancient Roman Empire, or more specifically to the harbour town of Colonia Ulpia Traiana, one of the largest military settlements on the Rhine and part of the Lower Germanic Limes.
Legionary troops patrol the paths, shouting marching orders at the tops of their voices. They come from all over the world and have travelled to Xanten specifically for this event. Visitors will be treated to a unique sight as the long procession of performing groups sets out. True-to-the-original reproductions of armour, elaborately made by the actors, reflects the sunlight as their heavy fur coats swing from side to side with every step.
Roman provincial and military life
Standard bearers and commanders walk ahead. The formations are lined up. The event team makes history come to life behind the town walls and gates. Up to 500 actors, craftspeople, and traders participate in the Roman festival to give guests the most realistic impression possible of Roman provincial and military life every other year.
Anyone who wants to shorten the waiting time until the next big festival can visit the Archaeological Park Xanten’s large craftspeople’s festival in the respective interim year, where chiselling, forging, and carving are presented. Visitors can learn about how goods and everyday commodities were produced in Colonia Ulpia Traiana.
Date: June 2024