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London Mithraeum: A Mysterious Roman Temple

Discover the mysteries of the Cult of Mithras

· 3 min read

London is a city with a rich history, and tucked away in the heart of this bustling metropolis is a hidden gem that speaks to the ancient past of the Roman Empire. The London Mithraeum is an ancient Roman temple that has been beautifully reconstructed in recent years. It serves as a window into a fascinating period of history and offers visitors a glimpse into the mysterious and captivating world of the Roman Empire.

The History of the London Mithraeum

The Roman Empire had a profound impact on London, which was then known as Londinium. As a bustling commercial center, Londinium was an important city for the Roman Empire and saw the construction of many temples and buildings during its time as a Roman territory.

The London Mithraeum was discovered in 1954 during an excavation of the site for a new office building. The temple was found buried deep beneath the rubble of post-war London, and it quickly became clear that this was a significant archaeological find. The site was carefully excavated and preserved, and today it stands as a testament to the fascinating history of Londinium and the Roman Empire.

Source: London Mithraeum
Source: London Mithraeum

The discovery of the Mithraeum was a major event in the world of archaeology, as it provided valuable insights into the religious practices of the Roman Empire. The site has been extensively studied and has yielded a wealth of information about the cult of Mithras and its followers.

After its discovery, the London Mithraeum was carefully reconstructed and restored to its original appearance. The temple is now housed in a modern building designed to showcase the temple's archaeological importance. Care has been taken to preserve the integrity of the site and to ensure that it remains accessible to visitors for many years to come.

The Temple's Connection to the Cult of Mithras

The Mithraeum is dedicated to the god Mithras, who was an important deity in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. The cult of Mithras was a mystery religion that first appeared in the 1st century AD. It was shrouded in secrecy and was predominantly popular among the Roman army, merchants, and imperial administrators.

Source: TimeTravelRome
Source: TimeTravelRome

Very little is known about its beliefs and practices. Mithareums are temples that are the central site for the cult's rituals and ceremonies. The Mithraeum was often built underground, which added to the mystery and secrecy of the cult. The temple was also a place of communal gathering, where worshippers could come together to share in the mystery of the cult.

The London Mithraeum provides valuable insights into this enigmatic religion, with its intricate carvings and elaborate altars offering clues about the cult's rituals and beliefs. Visitors to the London Mithraeum can explore the temple's underground chambers and see the remains of the altar and other artifacts that were used in the worship of Mithras. The site offers a unique glimpse into the world of ancient Rome and the mysterious cults that were practiced during that time.

Visiting the London Mithraeum Today

Today, the London Mithraeum is an important cultural attraction situated on the site of Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London.

The Temple Space and Artefacts

Source: Simon Burchell
Source: Simon Burchell

As visitors enter the temple, they are transported back in time to the days of the Roman Empire. The temple is beautifully reconstructed and is a faithful recreation of the ruin that was discovered back in 1954. Enjoy a multi-sensory experience as you discover the temple space, with haze and lighting that adds to the mystery of the place. The temple is also home to a number of artifacts, including Roman pottery and animal bones, that provide further insight into the Roman Empire and cult of Mithras.

The Bloomberg SPACE Exhibition

Source: London Mithraeum
Source: London Mithraeum

At the ground floor of the London Mithraeum, there is also an exhibition space. The Bloomberg SPACE exhibition area showcases a series of contemporary art commissions that complements the rich archaeological history of the Mithraeum. The exhibits that are showcased in the space are often a blend of modernity and history, offering different perspectives to this cultural site.

Practical Information for Visitors

The London Mithraeum is located near Bank station in the heart of London and is easily accessible by public transportation. The site is open to visitors from Tuesday to Saturday and admission is free. Visitors are advised to book their tickets in advance, as the temple can get very busy during peak periods.

Visits to the London Mithraeum are self-guided, but free digital guides are available on Bloomberg Connects to help you learn more about the rich culture of the place as you explore the area.

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