When we think about Roman ruins we think just that, they are in Rome and they are ruined. The reality is that there are Roman ruins throughout Europe and North Africa and they vary in completeness.
For me one of the interesting things about the Roman ruins in Vienna, Austria is that they are located in the middle of the old part of the city inside the Ringstrasse, the road that follows the line of historic city walls. They are not out in the fields or along the river but in the old part of the city. Then of course it hits, this is the old part of the city, the part that has been inhabited the longest. Originally it was a Celtic settlement and then the Romans took over calling it Vindobona. Vindobona was used as a military outpost to protect Rome from the various Germanic tribes. Romans lived in the area from around 54 - 430 CE.
|The wall is where the ruins are located.|
So imagine walking past the this huge complex, the Hofburg, which was the palace for the ruling family and is now a series of museums and government offices. You walk along the buildings, watching the cars, and horse carriages go buy then into a narrow covered walkway connecting two buildings through which cars and carriages are still traveling and in front you see the traffic part around this barrier. Welcome to one of the Roman excavations. It is right in the middle of a busy city street. You can walk over to it and look down into what they are working on. Imagine working below street level in basically a pit with random tourists watching and numerous cars going by.
The other Roman ruin inside the Ringstrasse is the Roman Museum in the Hoher Market. It is a narrow building with several floors. There are exhibits where you can put together pottery pieces and look at the clothing of about 2,000 years. There are numerous artifacts and displays describing the daily life. There was a tremendous blending of cultures with numerous ethnic groups and belief systems interacting. The size of the empire is evident in the amount of goods from the empire that were traded and consumed.
But for me the best part are the ruins in the basement. After going downstairs you actually go under the current street and you are walking around the officers houses. They actually had heating underneath their floors and in their walls. These were not simple fireplaces but engineered heating systems to keep homes warm in the cold Vienna winters. Imagine walking around and on top of homes that were inhabited almost 2,000 years ago.