Years ago I spend a week together with my brother in the Odenwald (Region in Germany/County Hessen.) We both had motorbikes and the Odenwald region is very popular for motorbikers. Nice landscape and windy roads. One day he suggested to drive to a place where an ancient Roman bath was found. In German we have the word "Kopfkino" (literally: mind-cinema). It means you hear or read something and your imagination produces a kind of movie-sequence in your head. My "Kopfkino" immediately produced this : "Steam is rising up from a hot water spa-pool and a Gladiator (astonishingly looking like young Russell Crowe...) comes out of this steam right torwards to me. On his muscular chest are perfectly arranged drops of water, he is wearing a kind of subligaculum....."🤤
My brother : "Hello, hello - earth to Heike...?" I (stupidly grinning) :" Ähhhemm, yepp let's visit this Roman bath."
When we arrived at the former Roman bath it was - hmmm, how can I describe it..., well, more or less an accumulation of old stones in a forest..., no pool, no steam... and much to my regret - no young Russell Crowe. I was a tiny bit disappointed. :) I really like ancient places, when I visit one, I often feel somehow connected with the past, but these few old stones were somehow too little for me. Therefore I love reconstructions, for me the best thing to experience history! (And to feed my imagination.)
And that is, what Villa Borg is. A reconstruction of a Roman villa complex in the River Saar region (Saar = River in France and Germany), located in Perl-Borg, near to the German-Luxembourg frontier. (And yes, that are rainclouds on the following photos. So the heavy cloudburst a short time later wasn't really a surprise.)
This reconstruction is build on the original old ancient foundations of a Roman Villa complex, a so called Villa Rustica. On the photos below you can see a typical construction of a Roman Villa Rustica. The manor house (pars urbana) is in the middle of the complex, it was reserved to the master (dominus), his family and guests. In the wing buildings on the right and left side, the service rooms are located. The site, where this complex once (around 2000 year ago) must have been existed, was well known by the rural population over the centuries, they used it as a quarry. Around 1900 the teacher Johann Schneider was interested in that place and started with some small excavations and some scientific researches. Unfortunately, due to the two world wars, his scientific findings got lost in Oblivion and it took until 1987, that this site is systematically excavated. This lasts until today. The findings of this excavations were - and still are - used, to rebuild the Villa Complex as faithfully as possible. It is said, even in Italy, the heart of the former Roman empire, nothing comparable is existing. (I didn't check that, this statement can be also a typical marketing strategy...).
The excavations discovered both, roman and celtic finds. Researchers even uncovered remains of wooden buildings. Coins and ceramics prove, that the villa remained inhabited as late as the beginning of the 5th century AD. It once lay near the busy Roman road from Trier to Metz. Today I would call the area 'the outback'...Not much around, except forest and cow's pastures.
The economic base of the estate was agriculture and livestock. It's possible, that the generated goods were partly sold to Roman legions, that were stationed in the nearby city Trier (40km/25miles). The excavation-finds indicate, that wealthy people must have lived there.
The whole complex is really impressing, but guess what I loved most? Yeessss, the bath with its corresponding rooms! That was really feed for my imagination. Loved it !!! Wish I had something like that in my appartement. 😀 The villas bath is equipped with a cold bath (frigidarium), which leads to the entrance area, a warm bath (caldarium) and rooms, which were used for relaxation and entertainment, all together quite luxurious. In a room corner, the construction of a Roman floor heating system can be admired.
In the upper floor is an additonal room, furnished like a nursery and some other rooms are used as exhibition spaces for the finds of the excavations, like coins, jewelry, oil lamps, small bronzes etc. Here a small selection of some findings, including a little erotic scene.
After watching the finds and due to the heavy rain, I decided it's time for coffee & cake and I visited the taverna. Since there were no other guests, I made some photos of the guest room.
In the backyard of the villa was a nice garden with herbs and aromatic plants and a chicken house. The chickens probably fled to their house during the rain and came out gradually, as the sun was shining again.
Do you see the little sparrow in front of the chicken house? He was desperately trying to get into the house, but the chickens always pecked at him. After they were all out, he finally got in - and came out proudly with a stolen grain in his beak.
What I really like in this place, is the idea to fill it with life again. During the year several events take place on the ground of the Villa Borg, and of course, it's a very popular destination for school classes.
Oh - and yes - unfortunately young Russell Crowe had the day off when I came for visit, but I'm sure I'll drop by again someday..."Frigidarium et caldarium..." Pardon...I keep my "Kopfkino" for myself now.... 😇 😉