After 83 A.D. a small wooden castle was built on the site where Kohorten-Kastell Saalburg stands today. The small garrison of auxiliary soldiers was responsible for the patrol paths and wooden watchtowers along Limes Germanicus, the Roman border fortification which provided flank protection during the campaign against the Chatti tribes in Germania Magna. By 135 A.D. the patrol paths were protected by a wooden palisade, stone watchtowers had replaced the earlier wooden towers, and the Saalburg had been enlarged to a cohort castle with a garrison of 500 men. The walls were then constructed of stone and wood. The final expansion of the Saalburg was completed at the beginning of the 3rd century A.D. The Saalburg now had strong masonry walls with two parallel ditches in front of them. The Limes border fortification had been strengthened by a ditch and rampart immediately behind the palisade. The patrol path on the crown of the rampart provided the soldiers a better view of the area in front of the palisade.
Border Castle at Limes Germanicus
Reconstruction of the Roman plasterwork
Detail of the plasterwork
Porta Principalis Sinistra– left gate
Frontal view of the left gate
View of the left castle wall and the patrol path in the ditch
Corner of the left and rear castle walls
Rear castle wall
Porta Decumana– rear gate
Frontal view of the rear gate
- Autobahn A5 Frankfurt-Basel
- Exit Bad Homburg, north of Frankfurt am Main
- Follow the signs to the Saalburg
Around 260 A.D. the threat posed by the Alamanni tribes was such that the Upper German Limes could no longer be held. The border was moved back to the western shore of the Rhein river, and the abandoned Saalburg castle gradually fell into disrepair. It took nine years, from 1898 to 1907, to rebuild the Saalburg.