It’s been some time since Tristan and I have had the chance to travel. We’ve both been busy with work and school, but now that sixth grade is winding and the weather is trying to cooperate, we’ve been making plans.
Spring in Deutschland has been a burst of rich, vivid greens littered with scarlet, pinks, and purples of the flowers. Rows upon rows of yellow rapeseed occupy fields on the roadsides. The birds are singing and people seem in happier spirits now that the incidence level has halved in our area and stores, restaurants, museums, and life are beginning to open back up again. Seeing people eating on the patios as we drive through the villages has been such a welcome sight to see – and a relief.
It also means that the market squares are once again crowded with people pushing around for the change for normalcy. This was both delightful and a little overwhelming to see. Even with the intermittent showers, we leisurely walked the cobbled roads of the hauptmarkt after lunch, enjoyed the views from Porta Nigra, and took in the serenity of The Dom.
As the oldest city in Germany, Trier rests on the banks of the Mosselle River, not far from the Luxembourg border. The area has seen settlements since the Neolithic era; the Celtic tribe of the Treveri (where the name of the city is derived from) populated the area since at least 17 BC (City of Trier, 2021). Julius Caesar conquered the Gaul tribe, and later, in 30 BC, the Romans built a camp near Trier to protect against uprisings from the tribes. Later, emperor Augustus founded the Roman town and, what was then known as Augusta Treverorum, became a “commercial and administrative centre… the capital of the Belgic division of Roman Gaul in the 2nd century CE, an imperial seat in the 3rd century, and later, as Treveris, the seat of the emperor responsible for Gaul and Britain” (Britannica).
The Romans left much of their brilliant architecture around the city. Our first stop when we arrived to the city was once such structure: Porta Nigra. It was the north gate entrance to the city. This UNESCO World Heritage site was built aroun 170 AD and was one of four city gates.
Fortunately, we were able to self tour inside the building, climbing the stairs to all three levels. As is my habit, I ran my fingers along the groves made by hammer and chisel and gazed wonderingly at the views from each level (which got better and better as we climbed the levels). I also admiringly watched as Tristan discovered detail, angels, lighting, and art with my Pentax. Many of the photos I included within this post were taken by him.
From the moment we arrived in the city, we were famished. So, after touring Porta Nigra, we made our way into the pedestrian market. Rows of restaurants, cafes, ice cream shops, and retail stores lined stone sidewalks. People enjoyed their afternoons underneath umbrellas despite the rain. We enjoyed a very German lunch of schnitzel and roast before our last stop: The Dom.
Known to be Germany’s oldest church, the Trier Cathedral of St. Peter is 1700 years old (Trierer Dom). The first structure was built between 310 and 320 AD. It was then expanded by Bishop Maximin, before the addition of the “square” was added. The church underwent multiple destructions by Vikings and Germanic unrest, but was always rebuilt. The church is also well known to be a place of pilgrimage as the Tunic of Christ is stored within its walls. It is said that St. Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, brought the Holy Robe to Trier in the 4th century.
The massive structure is absolutely breathtaking. Photo’s hardly do its vaulted ceilings, massive organ, and intricate carvings justice. There was also a certain serenity upon entering the building.
There is so much more to see in Trier, including the Roman baths, and countless other churches… and since it’s a mere hour from home base, we will certainly make our way back to see even more of the oldest city in Deutschland.