Trier (Germany)

Roman aqueducts: Trier (Germany) Trier - COLONIA AUGUSTA TREVERORUM (CAT)
For the photo's, see below
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In short: by Waldrach the Roman aqueduct took water from the Ruwer river - a tributary of the Mosel river - which was conducted in an almost 13 km long channel and partly over some small aqueduct bridges, to the city of Trier. Its gradient was 0,06%.
The arched, masonry channel was made of crushed stones with walls of 0,96 - 1,30m high and 0,74 - 0,78m (2,5 Roman feet) wide. It was plastered with a watertight lime mortar (opus signinum). Its maximum capacity was about 25.000 m3/d.
Via a distribution basin (castellum divisorium) at an yet unknown location in Trier, the water was brought to the main users: via street fountains to the general public and to the visitors of the Roman bath houses in the city.

Also of interest in Trier (Germany):
  • Roman bridge, Roman amphitheatre, Palast Aula (Basilica), Porta Nigra (Roman gate)
  • Barbara thermen (Barbara baths), Viehmarkt thermen (Forum baths), Kaiser thermen (Imperial baths)
During the pre-Roman period, drinking water came from local wells and some small rivers in the area for example in the area of the so-called Herrenbrunnchen. Before the 2nd c CE when the Ruwer aqueduct was built, there were already other small aqueducts for example in the Temple quarter: the water flew in a subterranean channel and on top of a series of 17 arches. Also a series of wood pipes have been found (Samesreuther 1936 pag 114/5).
Population growth, building project in the 2nd century CE and in particular the new built Barbara baths, put more and more pressure on the water demand resulting in the construction of the Ruwer aqueduct.

The aqueduct proper

At the intake the floor of the channel was lower than the bottom of the river so, even with a modest water level in the Ruwer river, there was a constant water supply. Especially from the river tap to Waldrach also sandstone blocks were used as building blocks for the aqueduct to replace (in a later phase ?) the regular lime stone masonry.
After the first 425m of its course, an extra water supply channel (N) was added, probably a later addition, see drawing ad M.
Because of local problems with the construction, on seven places a second channel was added on the higher sides of the existing ones.

Visible remains

The aqueduct is at display at only a few locations (see also the GPS-coordinates): Wilke D. Schram


Item Info
Length 12,8 km
Cross-section 0,74 x 1,30 m
Volume 25.000 m3/day
Gradient 0,06 %
Period 2 c AD
  • River tap
  • Partly double channel
  • Putei

Recommended literature :
  • E. Samesreuther (1936): Romische Wasserleitungen in den Rheinlanden
  • A. Neyses (1975): Die römische Ruwerwasserleitungen nach Trier im Ablaufgebiet Tarforst - Waldrach (in: Trierer Zeitschrift vol 38 (1975) pag 75 - 100)
  • A. Neyses (1983): Die Ruwer-Wasserleitung des römischen Trier (in: J.-P. Bucher (1983): Journées d'Etudes sur les Aqueducs Romains p 275 - 292)
  • H. Cüppers (2005): Die Roemer in Rheinland-Pfalz p 586-588
  • Führer zu archäologischen Denkmahlern der Trierer Landes (2008) p 64 ff and 184ff (RLM Schriftenreihe nr 35)
  • B. Busch (2010): Die Ruwer-Wasserleitung des römischen Trier (in: Jahrbuch 2011 Kreis Trier-Saarburg) p171 - 174
Recommended website : none
How to visit : Ask the Tourist Information for the Ruwer cycle path.
The Bergstrasse is on the north side from the amphitheater; a 15 minutes walk from the Rheinisch-Germanisches Museum.

HOME More literature on more aqueducts Last modified: July, 2015 - Wilke D. Schram
(W.D.Schram 'at'

Aqueduct course

The first 250m

Copy of the specus



Sand stone channel


Lime stone and sand stone

Double channel

The city walls

Reconstruction work


Channel in Trier


Series of arches

Barbara Baths

Aqueduct construction

Excavations 1

Excavations 2

Excavations 3