The attractions in Trier are impressive, but none are so
spectacular that you should cancel your trip to
to see Trier instead. However, if you are looking for a pleasant town
with a number of interesting attractions before you tour the Moselle Valley,
Trier is just the stop for you.
Trier was a established as a Roman Colony in the 1st century AD and grew
in stature as a provincial capital and trading center during the next
century. When the Roman Empire divided and was ruled by the Roman Tetrarchy
( in the late 3rd century, it was agreed that four rulers would to manage
the complexities of the wide-spread empire), Trier became one of the
capitals of the Empire under Constantine.
Constantine was a change agent,
whose work towards the Treaty of Milan in 313, led to the recognition of
Christianity as the official religion of the Empire. Constantine eventually
ended the Tetrarchy and become the sole ruler of Roman Empire, although he
moved the center of power in the Empire to Constantinople, now Istanbul, Turkey. Trier, however,
benefitted from Constantine's patronage and has many excellent Roman
buildings to prove it. Indeed, the Roman monuments along with the Dom
have been accorded UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
planning a full day of sightseeing in Trier, maybe even two, if you want to
take it slow.
We cover Trier’s Roman attractions
in this section of our Trier Guide.
Trier's Cathedral and the Church of our Lady are very popular destinations and
we cover them
Trier embodies our idea of a market town, and we cover the
Old Town, its unique
buildings and shopping areas, below.
Trier's Old Town is built for walking. It is compact and only one
of the city's main attractions (the Amphitheater) is outside of its boundaries.
The vast majority of Trier's Old Town is pedestrian only. There are a
number of parking areas surrounding the Old Town, although it is best to
walk from your hotel to town, unless you are outside the central area.
If you arrive by train, you will be pleased to know that the Trier Banhof is just a short distance from the Old Town.
The main Market Square (shown at the top of the page
) is the Hauptmarkt,
not far from the city's gorgeous Cathedral (Dom St. Peter's) and its companion
Church of Our Lady. The center of the city, as well as the center of
the Hauptmarkt, is the Market Cross (below left), believed to represent one of the
oldest in Germany (the original is in the Stadtmuseum).
Also in this square is the ornate and somewhat
fountain of St. Peter, dating from the late 16th century, who stands on a
column atop the marvelous fountain as shown in the photograph below right. In the
photo on the top left of this page is the Steipe (mid 15th century) an
attractive building with arcades at the bottom. Around the corner from the Steipe is
another colorful and impressive building known as the Renaissance Red House.
On the edge of the Hauptmarkt, surrounded by shops, is the Gangolf Church,
known as the Market Church, which was built as a parish church in the mid-15th
century. The Gangolf has quite a powerful set of bells and when they
begin their glorious peal, all of Trier can feel their resonance.
Further down the Simeon
Strasse (on the way to Port Nigra, the Black Gate of the Romans
) you will
see the House of the Three Magi (the Drei-Königenhaus -
see photo below lower right
was constructed in 1261 and restored to its original state in the 20th
century. It is a classic example of the types of homes built by
prosperous merchants, who built tower-like houses with entrances reachable
by ladders dropped from the upper level.
Wandering through the city on your way to its major attractions,
you may will undoubtedly run across a number of scenic buildings like the Weinestube
on the left below (near the Dom) or the Electoral Palace (an
administrative building that is not always open to the public
), which is
considered one of the finest Rococo-style buildings in Europe.
Trier has had many famous citizens, but perhaps, none quite as well-known as
Karl Marx, who was born here in 1818 on Brückenstrasse in
house that has now been converted into a modest, but interesting museum.
See the official website of the
Karl Marx Haus
Museum in Trier for more information.
Near the Karl Marx Haus is the Viehmarkt, the former
stock market of the city. Several years ago the city decided to create
underground parking at the Viehmarkt and in the process discovered an archaeological treasure in the form of a buried Roman housing area
complete with baths. The find have been protected by a stunning
glass-sided building that allow you to peer into the ruins to your hearts
content. In addition, the Viehmarkt-Platz is a very popular meeting
place in the summer.
Finally, if you are interested in the history of the
city of Trier, you might want to visit the Stadtmuseum
, next to the Porta
Stadtmuseum has a number of interesting models showing the city at
various stages in its history, as well as some interesting artifacts from the
city's past. While in this area, if you need help or directions, there
is a tourist information booth near the Porta Nigra.
Trier's Roman Monuments
Explore Trier's majestic Dom St. Peter.
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