Celebrating 2,000 Years of Aventicum

June 14, 2015 Updated: June 15, 2015

All over Europe, the Romans founded cities which still stand today. Like Aventicum in western Switzerland, now about 2,000 years old. 

The anniversary was recently celebrated with a festival featuring gladiator fighting, a Roman theatre performance and mosaic workshops.

In Aventicum’s heyday, it had several public baths, a theatre, a forum, a temple, arches, opulent houses with mosaics and heating systems, and a magnificent amphitheatre, which is still in use. Many of the ruins can still be visited in the town now called Avenches. 

The city was created as the capital of the conquered territory of the Helvetii. In 72AD, it was raised to the status of a colonia, a retirement place for legionaries. This encouraged land development and stability, and heralded a golden age for Aventicum. The population grew to 20,000.

This history is the focus of a new 3D film by Philippe Nicolet and a guide book, using new technologies such as digital modelling. Both include aerial photos taken from drones. The book, produced by the association Pro Aventico, also shows archaeological features that have been reburied or destroyed

This article was originally published at SwissInfo.ch