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Roman Imperial Palace, Konz

Konz, Pfarrkirche St. Nikolaus, Martinstr. 22

 

Above the bridge, on a slope, lay the Roman Imperial Palace, with an impressive view of the mouth of the Saar and the wide surrounding areas. The architecture of the complex was suited for a life of representation. Porticos and high-quality murals bring the Mediterranean to mind. In addition to a 3.16m-wide main entrance, there are three further doors providing access. The centrepiece was an impressively furnished central hall, which was used for receptions and celebrations. Two 2.7m-wide windows lit up the hall. The living quarters were grouped around it.

 

In the west wing of the building was an extensive baths. The Roman poet Ausonius referred to the “Imperial walls” at the mouth of the Saar in the 4th century A.D. The owner of the villa was therefore certainly the Imperial Court in Trier. Emperor Valentinian I even signed several legal decrees in Contionacum (Konz), relating to slaves, taxes and the inheritance rights of the imperial family, among other things.

 

There is evidence that Emperor Valentinian I (364-375) resided here. But even Valentinian II (375-392), Gratian (367-383), who was taught by Ausonius and Magnus Maximus (383-388) must have stayed in Konz, as the villa was inhabited during their reigns. Later, Germanic invasions weakened the local area. 

 

With the move of the Roman administration to Arles around the year 400 A.D., the palace villa was abandoned. Only the western part of the cold bath (frigidarium) and the remains of the supporting wall, the central hall and a gallery are all that remains today. The furnace for the heating system in the reception hall can still be found under the church.

 

In 2007 the city of Konz undertook numerous improvements around the Imperial Palace. The rooms for which there was historical evidence were marked with chalk lines so that it is possible even today to imagine the dimensions of the complex. The height of the imperial villa was made visible by means of a steel sculpture which is lit up at night and which shows 2 window arches. Five information boards point out its significance and associated historical events.