Historical information

Digging in the past at Domplein square

Around 47 AD, the Romans built a border fort at the site of the present Domplein square, which was then on the south bank of the River Rhine. After the Romans had departed at the end of the third century, the fort became the base of the missionary Willibrord in 695. He wished to convert the Frisians on the north side of the Rhine to Christianity.

That was not always easy, but following the invasion of the Vikings, the situation calmed down in the tenth century. This was the beginning of a long period in which the religious centre flourished. In the following centuries, large churches, elegant palaces and splendid houses were built for the clergy. In the fourteenth century, the highest church tower in the Netherlands – the Dom tower – was built.

In 1580, when, under the influence of the reformation Utrecht became a protestant town, a great deal changed in the old religious centre, e.g. the large, centuries old Saint Salvator church was demolished. And almost a century later in 1674, the Dom church nave collapsed during a tornado. When the ruins of the former nave were cleared away in 1830, a square was created. A square constructed on top of 2,000 years of history.

Reconstruction of the Saint Salvator church, demolished during the reformation in 1580.


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