You don’t have
to fly to
The German cities of
Founded by the Romans in 16 B.C. as Augusta Treverorum (City of Augustus in the land of the Treveri), Trier became the capital of the Western Roman Empire in the 3rd century A.D., and from 293-395 A.D. was one of the residences of the emperor. Under the rule of Constantine the Great, 306-337 A.D., the city was rebuilt, and buildings such as the Palastaula and the Imperial Baths were constructed.
In 326 A.D. sections of the imperial family’s residential palaces were extended and converted into a large basilica, the remains of which are still partly recognizable around the cathedral.
II resided in
When the Roman army withdrew along
The city thrived again in the 14th
century when it became home to the prince-electors, those princes who voted for
the Holy Roman Emperor. The town was briefly held by
Things to see
Start at the tourist information office located next to the Porta Nigra to pick up a map of the town and to buy admission tickets. The Trier Card gives free or reduced admission to the main attractions and museums. Most sites can be reached easily by walking. For information visit the city website at www.trier.de.
The Porta Nigra (Black Gate) is an imposing 2nd century city gate once part of the 6.4-kilometer city walls. Constructed of red sandstone, it’s called the Black Gate due to its dingy appearance after years of accumulated soot and dirt. The fortified gate has two towers and a courtyard. In the 11th century it was built into a church, St. Simeon, and parts of the church decoration can still be seen inside.
Presently the city historical museum located next to the Porta Nigra is closed for renovation and is scheduled to reopen in early 2007. The museum focuses on regional history with emphasis on art and artifacts from the Middle Ages onward.
The Römische Palastaula is a vast, 220-foot-long, 90-foot-wide and 118-foot-high, 4th century basilica that was once the throne room of the Roman emperor Constantine. It is the largest surviving single-room Roman building. In medieval times it was part of the prince-electors’ residence. Since the 19th century it has been used as a Protestant church.
The remains of the 4th century Kaiserthermen (Emperor’s baths) shows the vast system of baths and saunas employed by the Romans. You can walk through underground tunnels that were part of the heating system.
The 2nd century A.D. Roman amphitheater
Uncovered in the 1980s the Thermen am Viehmarkt
are the ruins of another Roman bath, one of three in
There are numerous other Roman sites in Trier including a Roman bridge built from 144-152 A.D. over the Mosel — the oldest bridge in Germany — and the 2nd century Barbaratherman, another Roman bath.
Other sites to see
The Dom, the city’s Catholic
cathedral stands on the site of a former emperor’s palace. After
After the Roman era much of the church was destroyed and the present cathedral is a medieval construction. The cathedral claims to hold Christ’s robe. It is rarely on display, but a reliquary holding the robe can be seen in the Holy Robe Chapel.
Next to the Dom is the Liebfrauenkirche, one of
Next to the Palastaula is the Prince-Elector’s Residence, a rococo style palace with a restful garden.
The birthplace of Karl Marx is now a museum dedicated to the founder of communism. Marx lived there only for the first year of his life before his family moved to a house near the Porta Nigra. Look for a plaque on the house there where Marx lived until he went away to university.
The city Hauptmarkt
is a great place to sit with a drink or ice cream and gaze at the medieval and
renaissance buildings, the fountain that features women and monkeys, and the
market cross. (It’s a replica — the 9th century original is in the city
museum.) You’ll need the time to read your guide book to learn about all that
the Roman/German city of