The Igel Column is the largest surviving column tomb to the north of the Alps and owes its longevity to a medieval misconception. A family scene depicted on the tomb was thought to be the marriage of the parents of Emperor Constantine, honoured as a patron of the Christian faith along with his mother, Helena. This confusion ultimately prevented the demolition of the Roman monument.
The 23‑metre column is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has already impressed famous visitors the likes of Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Crown Prince Frederick William IV, Victor Hugo and Friedrich Schinkel. The monument to the Secundinii family was built on a roadside near the Moselle in around 250 AD. It demonstrated the wealth and success of the family of cloth merchants to passing travellers, and continues to do so to this day. The scenes depicted give an insight into the everyday life and business of the merchants.
Based on the time the column was constructed, they were one of the last of their kind, as the Roman city of Trier suffered hard times and its affluence dwindled. The representative grave was an expression of the pride of the cloth merchants in their industry. The fact that the grave is attributed to the Secundinii family of cloth merchants is largely based on the depiction of the fabric on the column. The column has been constantly exposed to the weather over the years. The first structural works to secure the column were in 1765. In the early 20th century, a life-size replica was cast in artificial stone due to the critical condition of the original column, and erected in the inner courtyard of the Rheinisches Landesmuseum. Attempts to prevent further damage to the original began in the 1980s. The cast replica of the column was coloured in 1993 based on traces found on the original. Unfortunately, after standing for nearly one hundred years, this copy was no longer salvageable and had to be rebuilt in late 2021. The plates for the cast were stored and a new permanent copy is to be erected on the same place in the museum courtyard. The original in Igel is checked regularly to preserve it as best possible for the future.
The Igel Column is accessible free of charge all year round.
Note: Access to the steps may be restricted in poor weather. Access at your own risk.
The Igel Column is accessed via steps. There are also steps to the toilet. There are parking spaces on the roadside nearby.
There are parking spaces on the roadside nearby.