Trier, Part One

Trier is one of the oldest cities in Germany, possibly founded before 16 BC. It is a lovely town in the Rhineland-Palatinate and Mosel wine region, population of around 100,000. One of its most celebrated landmarks is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate), a huge Roman city gate built around 186-200 AD. The name most likely came from the grey sandstone of which it was made. Pollution from car emissions in modern years has probably not helped its darkening either. Age and deterioration, however, have not made this structure any less imposing on the day I visit it than all those centuries ago.

Trier is also home to no less than three Roman baths (in ruins), one of which this Kaiserthemen, also a World Heritage Site/museum:

Another Roman imprint on this city is the Konstantinbasilika, or Basilica of Roman Emperor Constantine, that was built at the beginning of the 4th century. During the Middle Ages, it was used as a residence for the Bishop of Trier. In the mid-1800’s it became a Protestant church. It suffered a fire from the air raids of WWII but was restored after the war. It is an enormous structure at 220 feet long by 90 feet wide by 98 feet high:

And of course, you can also find a Roman amphitheater in Trier with a seating capacity of about 20,000:

When you walk around its perimeter, you will find openings for animal cages, and in its cavernous cellar you can imagine where prisoners and wild animals were kept just before the gladiator games began:

Today the amphitheater is used as a concert venue given its excellent acoustics. Or in my case, just a fun place to do a few cartwheels and listen to your own echo when there’s no one else around:

Tomorrow I’ll take you back to modern day Trier… and some local food.


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