The Limes

Roman tower
Roman tower © DAAD/ Sophie Nagel Open fig caption

In the area around Giessen, you can search for signs of the Roman Empire and explore its former boundary line, or Limes. The best way to get to know the area is on a bike tour through fields and woodland.

The Limes and the region

The Limes was the fortified boundary of the Roman Empire which was built around 83 AD following Emperor Domitian’s campaign against the Germanic Chatti tribe. It consisted of ramparts, log buildings and wooden towers. The Limes was fortified during the rule of Emperor Hadrian (117-138) and Antonius Pius (138-161). The wooden towers were replaced by stone towers and a palisade fence was erected.

Approximately 550 kilometres long, the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes is Europe’s largest archaeological site and the second longest structure in the world after the Great Wall of China. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. A 180-km stretch runs through the German state of Hesse.

The Limes Trail was created by local communities in 2005 with the support of the district of Giessen. The dead straight route runs from the reconstructed sentry post 4/49 near Obersteinberg to the , following the Limes, crossing fields and meadows. You can see the most interesting sights by cycling from Grüningen to Butzbach.

A day tour of the Limes by bike