Saalburg, Main Gate
I've given you some information about the history of the reconstructed Saalburg fort in this post. Today we'll have a closer look at the main gate, the porta praetoria. It was reached by a bridge (not a drawbridge) crossing the inner ditch surrounding the fort. The outer ditch was interrupted in front of the gate.
The statue of the Emperor would not have stood in front of the gate in Roman times, but in the yard of the principia.
Porta praetoria, seen from the outside
It looks quite impressing and it was supposed to impress the Germans who might cross into the agri decumantes
to trade with the Romans. If you look closely at the right wing, you can see the lower part is open and people are passing through - to give you a size comparison.
The windows are closed by shutters in a way that the defenders were protected even if they opened the shutters to shoot arrows at attackers. In the model below, the shutters are open.
As said before, the gate would have been painted white, and the vicus
, the village outside the fort, would have been more than some mossy stone foundations. A model of the Saalburg displayed in the museum. It represents the original look of the gate.
(The foreground is a bit blurred because I had to shoot through the glass of the vitrine)
On a rainy day you can't blame the Romans' love for white walls; it would make the place look a bit more cheerful. Another view from the principia along the via praetoria
This view shows the inside from a wider angle. To the left are the two granaries (the museum), to the right the commander's house (praetorium
). It is a later addition and therefore has the correctly painted walls. It houses rooms for the staff working in the museum today. I'm pretty sure the original granaries didn't have such large windows, but I suppose some concessions to the modern use had to be made.