World Heritage #0430 – Frontiers of the Roman Empire

Last modified 28.03.2022 | Published 20.07.2005North and Central Europe, United Kingdom, World Heritage Sites

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Here is another Roman legacy, the Frontiers of the Roman Empire. They used to build walls to safeguard their empire. None of them helped at the end of the day.

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.


Official facts

  • Country: Germany and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Date of Inscription: 1987
  • Category: Cultural site

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 430:

“The ‘Roman Limes’ represents the border line of the Roman Empire at its greatest extent in the 2nd century AD. It stretched over 5,000 km from the Atlantic coast of northern Britain, through Europe to the Black Sea, and from there to the Red Sea and across North Africa to the Atlantic coast. The remains of the Limes today consist of vestiges of built walls, ditches, forts, fortresses, watchtowers and civilian settlements. Certain elements of the line have been excavated, some reconstructed and a few destroyed. The two sections of the Limes in Germany cover a length of 550 km from the north-west of the country to the Danube in the south-east.

The 118-km-long Hadrian’s Wall (UK) was built on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian c. AD 122 at the northernmost limits of the Roman province of Britannia. It is a striking example of the organization of a military zone and illustrates the defensive techniques and geopolitical strategies of ancient Rome. The Antonine Wall, a 60-km long fortification in Scotland was started by Emperor Antonius Pius in 142 AD as a defense against the “barbarians” of the north. It constitutes the northwestern-most portion of the Roman Limes.”


My visit

To build walls to keep the savages away from the civilised world was not only a habit of the Roman Emperors. The Chinese did the same thing with their Great Wall. The original name of this heritage site was Hadrian’s Wall. Later UNESCO included the Antonine Wall in Scotland and the almost disappeared “limes” in Germany and named it “Frontiers of the Roman Empire”.

I have only been Hadrian’s Wall west of Newcastle in England, in 2005. The views are very fine and it is not surprising that the path along the wall makes for fine walks all the way from the North Sea to the Irish Sea.

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