The Romans came to Austria in 200 BC and their legacy is visible all over the country, from Vienna to the banks of the River Danube. Some 1,700 years ago, Carnuntum was a military barracks by the side of the Danube and by the first century AD it had expanded into most important town in the region, grown rich from trading in amber and with around 50,000 civilians settled there. Like most Roman settlements in central Europe, Carnuntum was destroyed by German tribal raiders in the fourth century; the town fell into decay and the ruined buildings were plundered for their stone. Two millennia later, aerial mapping has led the painstaking reincarnation of a cluster of these ruins, which, together with a museum and excavated amphitheatre, form today Archaeological Park Carnuntum.
The reconstructions include a house, public baths and a palatial villa; they are complete and accurate in every detail, from their proportions to the underfloor hypocaust heating systems to the furniture and ornate frescoed décor, all taken from research into the early part of the 400s AD. The work at Carnuntum is all based on archaeological evidence and was undertaken by expert craftsmen who used traditional Roman hand tools. The museum owns the most comprehensive Roman collection in Austria, showcasing the best of the archaeological treasures discovered at Carnuntum, including coins, ceramics and jewelry.
Hauptstrasse 1a, A-2404 Petronell-Carnuntum. Opening hours are Mar 21–Nov 15 daily 9am–5pm. Admission adults €11, concessions for seniors & students €9; children under 18 €6 (free entry with the Vienna Pass). Take the S7 train to Petronell-Carnuntum from Vienna; otherwise it’s a 30-minute drive from both Vienna and Bratislava.