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Strategically situated for trade on the Danube, soon after the Roman conquest of Pannonia in 12 BC, Carnuntum (located near modern Vienna, Austria) became a busy civilian town. Carnuntum's residences and public buildings were modeled on Italian design, but adapted to the colder climate along the Danube.
In the northwest of the municipium (about 250 meters from the site's information center), lie the remains of one of the most impressive baths built by the Romans in the Danubian region (fig.1). Once believed to be a palace (and accordingly, named Palastruine or “palace ruin”), it is still only partly excavated. The thermae or warm bath building of 104 x 143 m is the largest north of the Alps, with 2-foot or higher extant foundations of rectangular rooms, octagonal and rotunda areas.
[Fig.1: The so-called Palastruine, the remains of a Roman bath (© 1999 BFA Documentary Photography).]
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