The world's only working Roman galley is currently traveling down the Danube towards Budapest, where it will stop this weekend for a brief but memorable set of events celebrating the Danube's ancient river maritime heritage.
Built by history students from the University of Regensburg in southern Germany, the 20-meter-long wooden ship is a perfect copy of a 1,600-year-old galley of the sort used when Hungary was a Roman-ruled province known as Pannonia. From 35 BC, Aquincum - the capital of Pannonia - was the center of the Roman's Danube fleet, which patrolled the river from Regensburg (then known as Raetia) to Belgrade (Moesia).
The aim of the traveling exhibition is to show people that, while few physical remnants of ancient maritime life exist, traffic on the Danube was lively during this period. The galley carries a crew of 20 German and Austrian university students, who will build a Roman camp during their stay.
While the exact timetable for the ship's arrival and travels in Budapest are not fixed - there are tentative plans for a stop at Batthyány tér in downtown Budapest - the highlight of the visit will be a "field" exhibit organized by the Aquincum Museum, the repository for many of Hungary's Roman-era artifacts. "The program will include handicraft workshops, the building of boat models, presentations on the 'water lifestyle' of the Romans and a lecture on water archeology," said Katalin Lengyelné Kurucz, organizer of the event. Programs begin at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, and at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, and will also include opportunities for visitors to take trips on the Regensburg boat, as well as two smaller, Hungarian-built replicas.
Note that the events will not take place at the Aquincum museum itself, but on the grounds of the nearby Graphisoft IT Park (behind the Óbuda Auchan), which today produces technology as advanced as the ancestors of the visiting galley were - just before they were swept aside by the low-tech but high-energy Huns.
A photo accompanies the original article ...