London is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Its origins go back to Roman times, over two thousand years ago. An ideal crossing point of the River Thames, the Square Mile that is now the City of London was the regarded as the perfect site for a port. It was a busy and thriving city.
Much of that Roman city has been destroyed over the centuries, and replaced with successive layers of buildings bearing witness to the area’s importance in trade and commerce. Until Victorian times, there was only one bridge across the river – London Bridge, located in the same place as the original Roman structure.
Head for the Museum of London near St Paul’s Cathedral to discover the story of Roman London, and just where many of the important Roman buildings would have been situated. Also on display are countless Roman artifacts discovered over the years. Book your stay at Mowbray Court Hotel to visit this place and explore more about the past history.
Not far away on Wallbrook, near the Bank of England, the remains of one of those original Roman buildings can now be seen. It is situated underneath the newly opened Bloomberg European headquarters. This is the London Mithraeum, a rare and unusual temple dedicated to the Roman god Mithras.
The Mithraeum was originally discovered in the aftermath of the Second World War. Having been removed from the site for many years, it has now been returned to exactly the same spot on which it was originally built by worshippers many centuries ago. Visitors are welcome to explore the Mithraeum, and entry is free of charge. It is easy to return to your accommodation in Kensington from anywhere in the city.
It would have been a really large temple. Although only the remains of the building now exist, columns of light create a 4D image showing just how big and tall it would have been. Adding to the sense of atmosphere and history, voices chanting rituals to Mithras emerge out of the hazy darkness.
Don’t forget to take a look inside the display cases containing artifacts found by archaeologists recently working on the site. In addition to lots of Roman jewellery, pottery and glassware, there are two very significant tablets. These tablets are the first ever examples of handwriting to be found anywhere in the country. Both date back to the first century AD. One tablet is an IOU dealing with money lending, while the other contains the first reference to Londinum, the name by which the Romans knew the city of London. While visiting the historical sites, staying at hotels in London Earls Court might be great choice for you.
Look too at the walls as you go down the stairs to the Mithraeum which is situated on the original Roman level where it was originally built. The stairs begin in modern day London, but as you descend you travel through the different layers of London history – World War Two, Victorians, Georgians, The Great Fire, Tudors, The Plague, Medieval, Viking and Saxon before eventually reaching Roman soil.