The beautiful city on the banks of the River Moselle is believed to be the oldest city in Germany. Founded by the Romans in 15 BC, the settlement called Augusta Treverorum had risen to become the capital of the Western Roman Empire by the 3rd century AD. The city reached its height in the 14th century when it was home to the powerful Archbishop of Trier, but its fortunes declined when the seat of the archbishop was moved to Koblenz in the 17th century. The main sites include the amphitheater, Barbara Thermals, Imperial Baths, Constantine Basilica, the Roman Bridge and the Porta Nigra, the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. In addition the town on the Mosel has a magnificent countryside: the mountains and forests of the Eifel and Hunsrück bordering the vineyards on the rivers Mosel, Saar and Ruwer.
Medieval centre of the old town
The central square of Trier lies in the historical city centre directly in front of the cathedral. Here is where the market was held during the Middle Ages. The houses date from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, but also from Classicism. Outstanding are the Hauptwache and the Steiße, a community centre that was rebuilt after its complete destruction in the Second World War. From the main market square, the route leads through the Judenpforte to Judengasse, the former Jewish quarter of the city.
Monumental bathing complex from late Roman times
The monumental remains suggest that one of the largest bathing complexes of the entire Roman Empire must have stood here. The 19 metre high remains of the wall are now Unesco World Heritage Sites. It is likely, however, that no one ever bathed in the thermal baths, as the building was already converted into barracks during ancient times. Instead, they continued to bathe in the much older Barbara baths in the neighbourhood. Today the whole area is an archaeological park.
Birthplace of the Trier philosopher
The house in Brückenstraße 10 was built around the year 1550. Karl Marx was born here on 5 May 1818 as the third child of the Jewish lawyer Heinrich Marx and his wife. The family had been renting this house for a good year since April 1, 1818. It fell into oblivion and was only identified in 1904 due to the find of an advertisement of his father Heinrich Marx in the Trierische Zeitung of April 5, 1818. After long efforts, the SPD was only able to acquire the house in 1928, which had undergone several major changes in the 19th and early 20th century. Today it is open to the public. An exhibition reports on the life and work of Karl Marx and his influence in the 20th century.
Best preserved Roman building in Germany
The “black gate” is the best preserved Roman city gate in Germany and the landmark of Trier. It was built around 180 A.D. as a northern entrance to the Augusta Treverorum (Augustus city in the land of the Treverians). A closer look reveals signs carved into the stones at various points, some of which are upside down. They served the stonemasons as a billing system and allow conclusions to be drawn about the construction period, which probably did not exceed two years. The Porta was never finished, though. Unfinished hinges suggest there were never any gates. The Porta Nigra was probably a representative building, which remained unfinished due to financial shortfalls.