The Gildehaus (Guild House) in Blankenheim has been returned to its full glory and now houses a new exhibition. The former local history museum has been converted into an information centre devoted to the history of the Romans and its after-effects on Blankenheim and the northern part of the Eifel.
The exhibition centres on the history of the villa rustica – a country estate used for residential and agricultural purposes between the 1st and 4th centuries AD – and its modern reconstruction. It combines topics like commercial usages in Roman times, the archaeological remains and the legacy of the Roman Empire within the collections of the Count of Manderscheid-Blankenheim. Visitors can go in search of Blankenheim’s Roman past, which at the same time will sharpen their minds to the importance of researching, collecting and preserving historical remains for the future.
The country villa existed from the late 1st century to the middle of the 4th century as the hub of an agricultural estate and as a prestigious residence. Its ruins were discovered at the end of the 19th century and diggings continued into the first half of the 20th century. Afterwards it was closed off for more than half a century and left to fall into disrepair or be used for building development. Since summer 2014, it has been the centrepiece of an archaeological park that gives one an idea of the immenseness and the architecture of the whole estate by means of the modern reconstruction of a part of the impressive portico of the main building and the outlining of the villa by means of a transparent framework construction consisting of prefabricated Corten steel.