No, you haven’t gone back in time, and this isn’t Secret Londinium. There really is a Roman temple opening in central London this week.
If you’re Roman around for something to do this week, we’ll Nero down your options. An actual Roman temple is reopening to the public this week, 1800 years after it first welcomed visitors. (And you thought Fabric was gone for a long time.) Although the Temple of Mithras was built in the 3rd century, when the Romans ruled London, it was forgotten for centuries. On Tuesday, it reopened to the public as a free exhibit, aiming to answer the question “what have the Romans ever done for us?”
Well, you’ll be able to find out at the snappily titled London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE. Deep beneath the new European headquarters of media giant Bloomberg lies a painstaking reconstruction of the temple, along with ancient artefacts, projections, and interactive exhibits. It will explain the cult of the god Mithras, and tell the history of the Romans in London.
This isn’t the first time the temple has opened to the public – it was originally rediscovered in 1954, but a botched move left it looking pretty sad, until Bloomberg bought the site and committed to a proper reconstruction effort. After ten years of work, the temple is just about ready to receive visitors once more. As soon as they find a pair of Caesars for the ribbon-cutting ceremony…
London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE is open now, from 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Saturday, and from 12pm until 5pm on Sundays. You’ll find it at 12 Walbrook, City of London, EC4N 8AA, and the nearest station is Bank. It’s free to visit, but you are advised to book in advance.