Travel in Trier Germany
Categories: Family and Kids, Sightseeing, Cultural and History, Entertainment, General Travel Info
The Trier Electoral Palace
[ source: Flickr]
What makes Trier unique is its Roman history. For hundreds of years Trier (Trier vacation rentals | Trier travel guide) was the capital of the Western Roman Empire in Europe. In the third century, Emperor Diocletian made Trier, a Roman imperial residence and itย’s capital and ruled the continent, from Scotland through to Spain and across to what is now Bulgaria. As the oldest city in Germany, Trier is proud of its Roman history. Emperor Augustus Trier founded Augusta Treverorum, later called Trier; around 16 B. C. It is Germany’s oldest city because of the several fascinating Roman remains scattered throughout. It is a pretty town with steep and narrow pitched roofs, a pedestrianized center and ice cream-colored buildings, and has not been over-run by tourists.
It is located in western Germany, on the banks of the River Moselle and Saar near the border with Luxembourg. Trier's Roman history is evident in its historic sites and museums. Still standing from this historic era are the Porta Nigra, a massive Roman gate and fortification, the Amphitheater, and three thermal baths. The Roman antiquities are best seen during the off-season, because by the middle of June they are prepared for the outdoor performing season.The Roman Porta Nigra gate dates back to A.D. 180 when the Romans often erected public buildings of huge stone blocks, with the biggest weighing up to an incredible six metric tonnes The stone blocks were spared from recycling because a Greek monk called Simeon walled himself up in the eastern tower as a hermit in 1028.
After his death in 1034/5, he was buried inside the gate and made a saint. In his honor, two churches were built into the gate (demolished around1804-1819). Beyond the medieval city wall lays the Amphitheater. Cruel animal and gladiator combats were performed here with immense popular public entertainment.The arena, built in the 2nd century A.D.had an astonishing seating capacity of about 20,000. With its crystal-clear acoustics, the Amphitheater serves as a venue for the Antiquity Festival and is used today for occasional open-air concerts.
Underneath the arena is a vast cellar where, in Roman times, prisoners sentenced to death were kept alongside exotic wild animals like African lions or Asian tigers. A movable platform took them up to the combat arena for the final showdown.The so-called Basilica, Constantineย’s throne room, is the largest surviving single-room structure from Roman times. The Romans wanted the architecture to show off the magnificence and mightiness of their emperor.The size is truly amazing, even by todayย’s standards: 27 m (90 ft) wide, 33 m (108 ft) high, and 67 m (220 ft) long – with an adjoining hall outside even 75 m (250 ft).
The Roman building was built with colorful marble, mosaics, and statues and made very comfortable by a hollow-floor heating system. However all this splendor and technology were destroyed in the 5th century by Germanic Franks, who built a settlement inside the roofless ruin.Later on, the archbishop used it as his administrative center and three palace wings enlarged it after 1614. Since the middle of the 19th century, it has been used as the first and oldest Protestant church in Catholic Trier with a splendid organ answered by a seven-second echo.
The Barbara Baths were built in the 2nd century as what was then the largest Roman baths. Although only one third of the original facility has been excavated, a tour of the passageways takes an exceedingly long time.The extensive ruins were used as a castle in the Middle Ages, then torn down and recycled as building material until the remains were used for constructing the Jesuit College in 1610. Only the foundations and the service tunnels have survived, but the technical details of the sewer systems, the furnaces, the pools, and the heating system can be studied better than in the other two baths.
Lastly, The Archaeological Museum (Landesmuseum) near the Imperial Baths is well worth a visit for those interested in the Roman history of Trier. It has the richest collection of Roman discoveries in Germany; it is so rich, in fact, that only a small part of the collection can be exhibited.The inner courtyard, used as a storage place for sarcophagi, columns, capitals, paving stones, and building blocks is in itself worth looking at, if only because of the painted replica of the 23 m (76 ft) Igel Column, a Roman burial monument about 8km/5 miles outside of Trier.
Read the full article about the Roman history of Trier at blueable.com
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