Location: 4 km from the town of Svishtov


Opening hours:


/Every day/

Novae is the best-studied and protected Roman legionary camp in the northeastern provinces of the Empire. It originated as the seat of the VIII Augustus Legion around 45 AD. A quarter of a century later, the I Italian Legion was stationed in the camp. The elite troop was made up of new re­cruits, each of whom was “6 Roman feet tall” (1 Roman foot equalled 29.6 cm).
Originally, the fort had an area of about 17.7 hectares and was later expanded to the east by another 10 ha. The camp had a rectangular shape, measuring 485 m at 365 m, and was built in immediate proximity to the high banks of the Dan­ube. There was a gate on each wall, as the northern one led to a harbour. Be­hind the fortress walls were the legionary headquarters, the military hospital, the officers’ homes, the legionary baths, the soldiers’ barracks, the residence of the commander of the legion and the bar­racks of the auxiliary troops. The civilian settlement was located outside the for­tress walls.
Novae was an important part of the Roman Defence System. The camp was also visited by Roman Emperors Trajan (98-117), Had­rian (117-138) and Caracalla (211-217).
During the reign of Constantine the Great (306-337), changes were made in the ur­ban planning and architecture. The city’s appearance was characterized by new buildings, churches, workshops of crafts­men. In the 5th-6th century Novae was also an episcopal seat. The city was last men­tioned in the early 7th century.
One of the most impressive buildings found in the camp is the Principia (the legion’s headquarters), built in the 1st century. It is now on display for visitors, with its partially restored buildings being a natural setting of a stage for reenact­ment events.
The Valetudinarium (military hospital) is located in the left front part of the camp and borders on the north with the inner street (Via Sagularis), which surrounds the entire camp. The hospital consisted of a chain of rooms (hospital rooms, a sanitary room, etc.) with a wide corridor. In the middle there was a courtyard surrounded by a colonnade in which a sanctuary dedi­cated to the gods of health Asclepius and Hygieia was found. The construction and operation of the hospital took place from the late 1st to the mid-2nd century.
The passage from the homes of the le­gion’s senior officers has been studied in the western front part of the camp. A large stone building of the “urban villa” type has been found, dating back to the early 2nd century with an area of about 1600 sq.m. Some of the earliest finds in Novae were uncovered there, including coins, imported glass and pottery vessels, bronze objects.
The legion’s baths (Thermae legionis) oc­cupied almost an entire neighbourhood. They faced the West, according to the Roman custom that going to the baths should be done in the afternoon. In vari­ous parts, furnaces were found where the water was heated in copper pots and hot air was released to the floor and wall heating systems.


The largest Early Christian basilica along the Middle

and Lower Danube has been found in Novae, 41 etres long. It is part of an Episcopal complex (a residence, baths, a large and small basilica, a shelter for worshippers) built on the site of the large legionary baths.