The Symphorus mithraeum and the mysterious cult of Mithras in Aquincum
2017-18 saw the reconstruction of the Symphorus mithraeum in the southern part of the Aquincum Museum Archaeological Park. A protective building was built on the ruins, utilising, where possible, ancient structural forms and materials, reconstructing the original building mass. The plans were designed so as to protect the original ruins and ensure that the building fit into the recently reconstructed ancient Roman surroundings in the southern part of the Archaeological Park, while recalling the atmosphere of the traditional protective structures to the north.
The mithraeum’s structure fits well with the so-called House of the Painter to its northwest, expanding the reconstructed Roman cityscape and the two buildings help visitors imagine what the ancient town looked like. The mithraeum also fits into the eastward sloping ground, alluding to the connection of the building and the environment. It was important that the reconstructed building should reflect the hidden and mysterious nature of the cult. The shrine’s walls are made of natural stone, evoking in part the cavernous, natural design of Mithras shrines as well as the protective structures further north in the Archaeological Park.
The mithraeum can be reached through a small path from the southern gate of the Archaeological Park, past the House of the Painter. The shrine opens from the east. To access the shrine and the permanent exhibition there, please go around the building and mind the slight level change.
The permanent exhibition of the Aquincum Museum opened on 21 June 2018.