TRAVEL - “Before Rome existed Trier thirteen hundred years” claims the inscription on the ‘Rote Haus’ at the Trier ‘Hauptmarkt’. However, it is a medieval story that is not true, but it has a historical background.
In the valley of Trier, there were indeed already in the 3rd millennium BC. human settlements and Trier was the first place north of the Alps that could be rightfully called town. The current city was founded by the Romans in 16 BC. led by Emperor Augustus.
Trier was in Roman times almost as great as now. ‘Augusta Treverorum’ (Trier) grew as a trading town into a city with about 80.000 inhabitants. At that time, it was a real world city. If you now walks through the city you need a lot of imagination to reconstruct the Roman city. The rich period under the Romans gave a lot of monuments to the city, which one you can still visit today. However, still a lot more was broken down and the stones were used for new homes.
One of the most famous Roman attractions is undoubtedly the impressive ‘Porta Nigra’, the Black Gate, a 2nd-century Roman city gate. It’s today the largest Roman city gate. The oldest Roman monument of Trier is the amphitheatre. Around the year 100 this was built on the slope of the Petris Mountain. There was space for 20.000 visitors.
Bathing at the time of the Romans was a kind of cult. In the second century they built in Trier the second largest bath house of the Roman empire. Unfortunately, from the Barbara Baths, only the basement walls have been preserved. The Trier Imperial Baths ‘Kaiserthermen’ of around the year 300 were smaller, but more of the brickwork above the ground has been preserved.
The connecting roads of Trier are ancient. Even before the Romans came to this region, passed people here already. The Romans needed a river crossing over the Mosel and they built a bridge on stone pillars, slightly more downstream from the current bridge. This bridge was later replaced by the current Roman bridge from the second century. This second bridge was a bridge of wooden bars on stone pillars. The pillars are still there. The bridge arches date back to 1718.
But the city has so much more to offer than just monuments from the time of the Romans. The ‘Hauptmarkt’ square in the middle of the inner city is the most beautiful part of Trier. It’s one of the most beautiful squares in whole Germany. However, on this square you can’t find something anymore of the Romans. The square is surrounded by architecture of the last four decades, with in the middle the old ‘Marktkreuz’ from 958, the symbol of the medieval market rights. The old buildings with restaurants on the square give during the summer a southern atmosphere by the many terraces. The ‘Hauptmarkt’ square is a meeting place for young and old, for residents and tourists. From here you can start to visit the city in all directions.
And it’s a pleasant town to spend hours in walking around. Discover among other things the ‘Dreiköningenhaus’ from 1230 that strange looks Moors, but also the 11th century ‘Frankenturm’, the only residential tower in Trier, which has retained its original character, and the ‘Kurfürstliches Palast’, the palace that was built from 1614. In the city you will discover also several beautiful churches. The best known is the huge double church of the 'Dom St. Peter' and the 'Liebfrauenkirche'. This early Christian double church is built on a Roman imperial palace. The current building dates back to the 10th century.
The historic centre of the city is largely pedestrian area and you can find a lot of shops. Trier is an attractive destination for shoppers from the far area. But Trier is also the city of the wine that’s ripening in cellars. Cellars that are often still from Roman times. On the southern slopes of Trier and on both sides of the river Moselle you discover vineyards everywhere. Who wants to learn not only the city, but wants to love her too, definitely have to climb a vineyards against sunset and listen to the city's night clocks. You will never forget Trier.
Text and pictures: T. Hanan S.
Published in Dutch language by: Wereldwijzer Reismagazine
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