Tawern Temple Complex
On the Metzenberg, at hiking trail G11, signposted from the centre of Tawern.
From the forest car park it’s another 10 – 15 minutes on foot to the lower entrance gate of the temple
An important Roman street leads through Tawern, which connected Trier with the centre of the Roman Empire. The Metzenberg in Tawern was the point at which travellers first caught a glimpse of their goal. It was therefore only logical that first a sacrificial altar and later several temples were built right at this spot. An ideal point to thank the gods for a successful journey or to invoke blessings while on the way to Rome. In 1986-87, under the direction of the Rheinisches Landesmuseum in Trier, the temple district and a large secular building were unearthed and partially reconstructed. Finds prove that the temple district was constructed as far back as the first half of the 1st century A.D. and was used right up until late into the 4th century. At the north-west corner of one temple a water well originally more than 15m deep was unearthed. It was filled with stones, earth and architectural parts. There were also fragments of inscriptions, figurative reliefs and the head of a statue made from limestone. Mercury, the god of commerce, trade and travel, was the main god in the temple district. The slightly larger-than-life limestone head found in the water well came from an icon of him. With the help of this find, a reconstruction of the statute was produced in 2002, which is exhibited in the large Temple of Mercury.
The symbols of Mercury are his staff entwined with two serpents and a purse, which points to his association with wealth. Sacrifices were offered up to the gods in line with the principle “I give, that you might give”, in order to secure health, good luck and prosperity. This involved gory animal sacrifices as well as less bloody victims such as the sacrifice of crops or small statuettes. The sacrifices were usually made on the altar in front of the temple of the relevant deity. The chapels, small rectangular buildings in the sanctuary, were used to lodge the sacrifices. To the rear of the chapel was a large building which was available to priests, servants and visitors to the temple district.
Guided tours for groups (advance booking required) are available at any time.