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To provide you with the best experience, cookies are used on this site. Learn more. Fast forward to Summer and although the name has now changed to Colchester it remains one of the finest locations for exploring Roman Britain in the country and is a fantastic town for history lovers to explore on a day trip or short break.
As well as the surviving ruins, which have stood for thousands of years, Roman Colchester is also celebrated in more modern ways, from a cutting-edge exhibition, De-coding the Roman Dead , currently running at the Castle Museum to the informative Roman Circus Visitor Centre , or brand new walking trails for adults and children alike.
The Roman town was extremely important in Roman Britain and many of its attributes have survived to the present day. Roman Colchester was home to 3 theatres - more than any other in Britain, and hosted the only Roman chariot-racing Circus on the island. Large town houses have been uncovered with under floor heating and fine decorated mosaic floors.
The defensive wall circling the town remains two thirds intact and ' walking the walls ' is a popular activity with tourists and locals alike. Much of ancient Camulodonum can be discovered simply by walking the streets of Colchester. You will find a selection of maps and guides to download below, or stop by the Visitor Information Centre for physical copies and expert advice. Colchester's dramatic story from it's rise to the capital of Britain to it's destruction at the hands of Boudicca, Queen of the Celts, is woven into the fabric of the town.
To get the full story, visit the Colchester Castle Museum , built on the historic site where the Temple of Claudius was burnt to the ground and today home of numerous Roman artifacts among its myriad treasures. The Roman Invasion The Emperor Claudius spent just sixteen days in Britain, long enough to lead his troops into Camulodunum and receive the submission of several British kings.
The Roman army then built a legionary fortress on the hi ghest ground inside Camulodunum, the site of the present town centre. By AD49 the fortress at Camulodunum had been turned into a civilian settlement named Colonia Claudia after the Emperor, and this became the first capital of the new Roman province of Britannia. The colonia was populated mainly by retired soldiers, whose role was to spread Roman civilisation and keep an eye on the natives.
Many of the military buildings were retained and converted, but the legionary defences were dismantled, leaving the town fatally unprotected. Large public buildings were constructed, including a theatre and a senate house. The grandest building of all was the Temple of Claudius, built to worship the Emperor after his death in AD54, when he was made a God. Colchester Castle stands on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius, and these can still be seen by taking a trip to the Castle vaults, accessible via guided tours which take place daily in the Castle.
Roman Colchester was virtually destroyed a few years after it was founded. After his death the Romans assaulted his widow Boudica and her daughters, refusing to accept the women as the king's heirs. A revolt erupted and Boudica led her followers against Camulodunum, the Roman capital. Here the Iceni ed forces with the Trinovantes to attack and burn the undefended town. Those who survived retreated to the town's largest building. The Temple of Claudius, but they could only hold out for a couple of days. The Temple, which had been paid for through local taxes and built with slave labour of the Britons, was a focus of hatred.
It was burnt and all the defenders slaughtered. Colchester was quickly rebuilt but this time the town was enclosed by a substantial defensive wall. Some two thirds of the wall still stand today and is the oldest town wall in Britain. A particular section of interest is Balkerne Gate , the original main entrance to the town. After the Roman invasion, Gosbecks was allowed to continue as a flourishing native centre, watched over by a Roman fort which could house soldiers. Nearby the largest of the five known Roman theatres in Britain was built, with seating up to people.
There was also an impressive Romano-Celtic temple complex. The discovery of the finest bronze figure from Roman Britain, known as the Colchester Mercury, shows that even native religion was becoming Romanised. The Gosbecks site can be visited, preserved as an Archaeological Park , and its various historic features are explained via interpretation panels at the site.
We Walk the Walls by following our new map and guide, giving out hints and tips as well as picking up on some extra bits on the way. Find out more about Butt Road's Roman ruins. Does Colchester really have Britain's first Christian Church? This circular walk takes you around Colchester's famous town wall. The theatre mentioned in Tacitus' of the Boudican attack on Colchester was probably on the same site as the later theatre excavated in Maidenburgh Street in Enjoy a walk and discover the highlights of the site with the interpretation boards around the Park.
Download these audio files to your phone or tablet for an audio tour of Colchester's Roman History. Follow the trail and listen to the insightful commentary as you go. Courtesy of als Media. The site of the Colchester Roman circus chariot-racing arena was discovered in It was built in the early 2nd century CE and seems to have been in use for about years. It is the only known Roman circus in Britain. Dating from the 4th century AD the foundations of this church near the Police Station just off the Maldon Road roundabout is probably the earliest known Christian church in Britain.
Take a walk through Colchester Town Centre and discover fascinating facts about the Roman history right under your feet! Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube. Site Search. Roman Colchester. The Boudican Revolt Colchester Castle stands on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius, and these can still be seen by taking a trip to the Castle vaults, accessible via guided tours which take place daily in the Castle.
Colchester rebuilt Colchester was quickly rebuilt but this time the town was enclosed by a substantial defensive wall. Searching for something Accommodation Search. Things to Do Search. What's On Search. Any date in the future.
Uncover Roman Colchester with our Roman blogs. Walking in Roman Footsteps. One of our team members takes a walk around some of Colchester's most important Roman sites. Colchester's Roman Church - or is it? Roman Theatre. Ancient Colchester App. Kids Castle Tour. Gosbecks Archaeological Park. Roman Colchester Audio Tour. Roman Wall. Colchester's Roman Wall is the oldest and longest surviving town wall in Britain. Uncovering Roman Colchester: Guided Tour.
Colchester Castle Museum. Colchester Castle is the largest Norman Keep in Europe and houses the town's main museum. Decoding The Roman Dead. Roman Circus Visitor Centre. Roman Church. Follow VisitColchester on Instagram. Tweets by VisitColchester.
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