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Guide to the Roman Festival in Augusta Raurica (2024)

Copyright Susanne Schenker/Römerfest

Looking to attend the Roman Festival in Augusta Raurica this summer? Look no further! We have everything you need to know about this event.

The Roman Festival is a remarkable celebration of Switzerland's rich archaeological history. During one weekend every August, the festivities and events offer an unparalleled opportunity to discover and learn about the Roman era.

But what exactly is Augusta Raurica?

Augusta Raurica is an archaeological site located near the city of Basel in Switzerland. It was once a Roman settlement and is now a popular tourist destination where visitors can explore ancient ruins and understand life during Roman times.

You may not realize how large ancient Augusta Raurica actually was. In Roman times, it is estimated to have been the home for up to 15’000 inhabitants. That is a lot more than today’s population of Augst...

In the early 1960s, one of the most important Roman silver treasure hoards was unearthed at that site. No less than 270 silver objects were buried, including numerous large platters, bowls, spoons, and coins. All artifacts are still in very good condition and many are displayed in the museum.

For visitors interested in experiencing history firsthand, Augusta Raurica offers a restored amphitheater, ruins of some temples, a bakery, and one very spooky tunnel. My personal highlight is the authentic recreation of a Roman villa.

What to expect at the Roman Festival in Augusta Raurica?

The Roman Festival at Augusta Raurica is a week-long event that takes place every August. The Römerfest, as the locals like to call it, is the largest Roman festival in Switzerland, hands down.

You can expect a wide range of activities and events that demonstrate what Roman culture was like. Exciting reenactments of Roman battles and chariot races, music concerts, theatrical performances, and exhibitions are just a few of the events one can witness.

Imagine the sight of 150 Roman legionaries, all dressed in full armor, complete with tents, horses, and a multistory recreation of a Roman fort!

You will see history come alive, no doubt.

Roman women dancing at the Roman Festival Augusta Raurica
Copyright Susanne Schenker/Römerfest

Is the Roman Festival ideal for families and children?

Yes, absolutely! There are many activities for children of all ages, including metalworking or mosaic-making workshops. Or how about dressing yourself up as a legionnaire?

Girls might head straight for the Roman hair styling to weave ivy braids into their hair. Authentic gladiatorial combat might attract the kids to the amphitheater.

Other activities for children include Roman games, crafts, and workshops.

Children as Gladiators at the Roman Festival Augusta Raurica
Copyright Susanne Schenker/Römerfest

Food and drink stalls are set up around the site for those who wish to indulge in ancient Roman cuisine. The blend of activities, education, food, and even Roman-inspired shops, is really nice. The focus is on learning about history rather than offering a big shopping mall.

When is the Roman Festival taking place?

The Roman Festival at Augusta Raurica takes place every last weekend of August. It is scheduled to take place from August 17 to 24, 2023. Be sure to check the festival website for more information and updates.

A Roman legionary at the Roman Festival Augusta Raurica
Copyright Susanne Schenker/Römerfest

To dress or not to dress, that’s the question!

Of course, the big question for any visit to Römerfest is whether or not to dress up in a Roman costume! Many a toga is to be seen, along with soldiers’ amour, ancient magicians, early monks, and a strange mix of goth teenagers.

I'd say: when in Rome, do as the Romans do!

The Roman Festival provides an excellent opportunity to have fun while learning about Swiss history. It's a unique experience that is suitable for all ages, making it an ideal family-friendly activity.

Dimitri Burkhard

Dimitri Burkhard

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