Actually, the fort is just one of five fortifications that existed in Passau during the Roman period. It replaced the earlier fort of Boiodurum, to which we will get later. A further fort with five defensive ditches lay on a sandspit between the rivers Danube and Inn. Originally, the site had been occupied by a fortlet. Another fort was probably situated on a hill known as the Domberg, or ‘Cathedral Hill’. Towards the end of the 3rd century AD, a fortified town known as Batavis existed next to Boiotro. The modern name Passau is derived from this settlement. But why were there forts on both banks of the river Inn? Under Roman rule, the river served as the boundary between the Roman provinces of Raetia and Noricum. Boiotro - to which the foundations that can be seen here at the museum belonged - was situated in Noricum, while the fortified town of Batavis lay on the Raetian shore of the Inn.
The foundation walls of the fort of Boiotro were uncovered during excavation work in 1974 and it was immediately decided to preserve the ancient ruins. The mediaeval building that stood on part of the foundation was opened as a Roman museum in 1986. The museum was extended in 2010 and completely redesigned in 2013. It is best to start your tour on the lowest of the museum’s four levels. There, you will learn more about trade and the economy in early Passau. You can also explore Roman burial customs and, of course, Boiotro itself.
Here on the second level, where you entered the museum, a film shown in German and English will help you understand what Passau was like in Roman times. Afterwards, head up to the third level to discover the Roman legacy and take part in an entertaining Roman quiz. The top level presents an overview of Passau’s Roman history from AD 50 to 280. Finally, return to the other rooms on this second level, where more finds from Late Antiquity are on display.