The wooden structure protecting the building called cella memoriae was more than 20 years in an emergency condition. In 2022, it was recovered and made accessible again.
Shortly before Christ was born, Romans had crossed the Alps and the Sava River. They had occupied Pannonia and their expansion had stopped right on the border of today’s Slovakia, on the Danube River – from the Morava mouth to the Ipeľ mouth.
The garrisons were allocated on the banks of the Danube River which made it possible to move quickly along the strategic Danube Road, if required so. Devín was an important strategic point of the Limes Romanus defence system.
Romans had left the preserved remains of brick buildings here that were proving a high level of construction architecture. They used stone, perfect binders, as well as bricks marked with the stamps according to the brick plant, they were produced in. Military brick plants used the names of legions and cohorts; private brick plants marked their products with the name of the manufacturer.
There were several stone buildings from the 3rd to 4th century discovered in Devín. One of them is the building found near the western Gothic entry gate. Its ground plan resembles the shape of an ancient vault – it is one of the reasons why the building is called cella memoriae. The building made of quarry stone with its entrance made of finished sand blocks was reconstructed several times; evident that it was used for a longer time. An iron cross was found here too. The archaeologists have different opinions regarding the fact whether, based on such artefacts, it could be stated that an Early Christian building was concerned there.
Nevertheless, this building is another evidence that, in the Roman era, the Danube River was not to be a strict cultural border. Romans settled on its northern bank too. Some of them perhaps served to the local rulers. Or the local rulers were trying to imitate every Roman idea since at those times, it was perceived as progressive and modern thinking. And this effort did not vanish many years afterwards either,
as proven by the Roman monuments in Stupava as well as villa rustica in Dúbravka, Bratislava, but also by the Roman construction materials integrated in the later medieval buildings like in Boldog.
The Danube River was not a barrier; it was mirroring cultural changes occurring on the southern bank, in Pannonia, and in the entire Roman empire. Devín was more than just a seat of the Roman garrison.
The cella memoriae building is protected with a wooden structure and unique roof – one of the first green roofs built in Slovakia. In 2022, the building was recovered completely. In the future, these premises will host the exhibition regarding archaeological research in the Devín Castle.
Text author: Andrej Barát
More about Cella Memoriae
The wooden structure protecting one of the most precious sites (cella memoriae) is designed so as to copy the terrain and to be integrated in the castle panorama in a sensitive manner. The wooden structure is carrying one of the oldest green roofs that has ever been...