As One of the Oldest Cities in Germany Trier Has Many Interesting Attractions for Visitors:
|RIVER CRUISE GUIDE – TRIER|
PARIS & THE HEART OF EUROPE – UNIWORLD RIVER CRUISE – DAY 15:
Trier was one of the reasons for choosing our Vienna to Paris river cruise. Sometimes referred to as the “Second Rome”, Trier’s impressive Porta Nigra is the city’s most famous Roman landmark and one that we wanted to see. Also, as one of the oldest cities in Germany and with its history dating to the 16th century BC, Trier has more than its fair share of UNESCO World Heritage sites, another compelling reason to visit Trier.
A Mosel River Cruise Stop
Nestled along the banks of the Mosel River, Trier was the final river stop of our Uniworld Vienna to Paris river cruise. Our walking tour of Trier began at the impressive black gate known as the Porta Nigra, the gateway to the city’s rich Roman history. This is the only surviving gateway into Roman Trier and therefore a good place to start our walking tour.
The Porta Nigra is over 1800 years old and once again the Romans show us that they were masters at building impressive monuments that are able to withstand the test of time. Apart from the black colouring from pollution the Porta Nigra is in remarkable condition.
Other Trier Attractions
There was a huge tourist market in progress around Porta Nigra, but we continue our walk down Simeonstraße, the main pedestrian street through town. Alongside the many shops, cafes and restaurants on this pedestrian street there are some interesting buildings such as the Dreikönigenhaus or House of the Three Magi. Located at Simeonstraße 19, this tower house was built around 1230. During medieval times, it was common for the rich to build these residential towers to protect themselves. The houses had no entrance doors at the ground level and the only way to get into the house was by ladder to the third floor windows. The ladders would be pulled up when not in use.
Further along on the right side of Simeonstraße is Judengasse (Jews’ alley), the street that leads to the former medieval Jewish Quarter. The archway is easily missable as it is hidden under the eye-catching structure of two timber-framed buildings.
Just a little past Judengasse is the Trier Hauptmarkt with its market cross. Around the market square are several interesting buildings such as St Gangolf church, the Steipe – a building used for city council ceremonial functions, and the Red House which was the house of the bakers’ guild master. There are a couple of interesting inscriptions on this house – the most important inscription is a legend that suggests that Trier is 1300 years older than Rome. The other inscription points to St. Anthony, the patron saint of the house.
From the Hauptmarkt, we took a left and arrived at Cathedral square. It was Sunday and with masses on, we were very lucky to be able to visit the Trier Cathedral in between services. Trier Dom’s companion church, the Liebfrauenkirche, also had services on so I was only able to have a quick peek through the door.
Another UNESCO Heritage Site
Walking south along Liebfrauenstrasse we went in search of Konstantin-Basilika, another of Trier’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. Emperor Constantine’s throne room, is the largest surviving single-room structure from Roman times. Through the size and architecture of this building, the Romans wanted to express the magnificence and might of the emperor and the monument still impresses today. Since the mid-19th century the building has been used a Protestant church. It is the first and oldest Protestant church in Catholic Trier.
In our loop back to the Port Nigra, we walked past the Elector’s Palace which unfortunately was under wraps for renovation. However, the Baroque garden artistry of the Palastgarten is there for all to see. The enchanting park is a pleasant place to spend some relaxing time, but we unfortunately had to race back to the Porta Nigra for our coach transfer to Paris.
Although we did see a lot of Trier’s main attractions during our short visit in this town, Trier has a lot more to offer visitors and a few days here would have been nice. By the way, if you don’t fancy sprinting around town like we did, there is a sightseeing train that takes you around the main attractions, including the Dom, Kaiserthermen, Liebfrauenkirche, etc.