Tac Tourist Attractions
One of the largest and most impressive Roman excavation sites in Hungary is about 16km (10mi.) south of Székesfehérvár near the small town of Tác (signposted from here).HistoryOn the site of a former Celtic settlement, at the crossroads of strategically important long distance routes, the Romans established a military camp in the 1st C which was awarded its town charter by Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd C and raised to the status of provincial parliament for Lower Pannonia.
The annual provincial gatherings in May/June were accompanied by cult celebrations in honor of the emperor requiring the appropriate official buildings, places of worship, public squares and other institutions. In the 2nd and 3rd C, devastated by the Sarmatians, the town was rebuilt at the end of the 3rd C and named Herculia, after Maximianus Herculius, the co-ruler of Emperor Diocletian. At its peak about 7000-8000 people lived in Gorsium Herculia.The town's final heyday lasted until the middle of the 5th C when it gradually depopulated and disappeared off the map.The main part of the excavations is to the north of the ticket office on the parking lot. The former north-south road (Cardo maximus) with attractively carved stone reliefs and tombstones (copies and originals) leads to the town center of Gorsium Herculia. A main road (Decumanus maximus) ran in an east-west direction through the town; on its south side a business quarter with shops and workshops has been excavated. On the other side of the main road were the public buildings and squares. Over to the west (standing to the left in front) are the foundations of a large palace which had a bath consisting of four rooms that could be heated, several halls on the north side and a granary in the east. The former Christian basilica to the right towered over a residential house where the wall paintings and floor mosaics have been restored. The east side of the basilica adjoins the forum with its public facilities and the Capitoline temple. Adjoining it is the holy area (area sacra) with the official buildings of the provincial congress, several places of worship (imperial temples) and the cellar of a building extensively decorated with frescos. The holy area was closed off down to the main road by a wall into which two beautiful (restored) fountains were built.The ruins of a residential house (Villa Leporis), which was part of a 4th C villa quarter outside the town walls, were exposed in a small shady wood south of the ticket office, together with a cemetery which was laid out later (4/5th C). A visit to the small museum is highly recommended to see the originals of the stone sculptures and grave stelae as well as other interesting finds, especially the charming bronze statuettes of Venus.
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