It’s finally here! The last of my blog posts about our trip to Germany; and this is all about the day we spent exploring the oldest town in Germany – Trier.
It was one of those weird patchy days; where it is grey and overcast one minute, then bright blue skies and sunshine the next. The only constant was the cold; there were some patches of snow left over from the day before, but it wasn’t as cold as it could have been, I suppose!
Above is a lovely fountain we walked past, St. George’s Fountain, although it is not the most well-known fountain in Trier – which is of St. Peter and the Four Virtues. I think that one was surrounded by the stalls for the Christmas market that was being set up while we were there.
I had found out about Trier when looking through my Lonely Planet guide to Germany at what might be within driving-distance from the town of Cochem, where we were staying. Trier is only an hour away from Cochem, and as the entire town is a UNESCO world heritage site, filled with Roman ruins and cathedrals from later ages I couldn’t pass up the chance to visit.
One of the major sights in Trier is the Porta Nigra – the gate built in the 2nd Century which is the best-preserved Roman gate North of the Alps. Porta Nigra is Latin for ‘black gate’ and the gate really has been blackened by time.
What I found most amazing is that this gate is held together only by gravity and iron rods. Not only is it centuries old but it’s HUGE! Quite amazing to look at and walk under. To find out a bit more about the history of the gate have a look here.
There were some other quirky sights not mentioned in a guide book – such as this random elephant, and the interesting statue on the side of a building.
A bit of googling reveals that this is a statue of Saint Simeon carrying baby Jesus.
As I mentioned there are a LOT of cathedrals and churches in Trier, some of them right next to each other. The one below is the Cathedral of Trier and is the oldest cathedral in the country.
Directly next to the Cathedral is the Liebfrauenkirche (‘Church of Our Lady’ in German) which is one of the oldest Gothic churches in Germany.
Not far from these two is the huge Constantine Basilica, which was the throne hall of Roman Emperor Constantine and is now a Protestant Church. Those Romans sure did like to build vast monuments!
Just behind the Basilica is the Kurfurstliches Palace and Palace Gardens. The gardens are open for visitors to stroll through, although the pink and gold rococo palace is not open to visitors. It’s still quite a sight to see though!
Just beyond the gardens of the palace are the ruins of the Kaisertherman or Imperial Baths, another of the Roman sights. Originally created by Constantine you can see the layout of what was once a pretty massive bathing complex. However, we were getting very cold by this time, so decided not to spend any more time wandering around out in the wind!
This giant foot statue was interesting. Apparently it was once part of a statue of Constantine – can you imagine how massive that must have been to go with this foot?!
Trier isn’t just about impressive and ancient monuments though – it also has some cute and quirky parts, like the Spielzeugmusuem or toy museum with it’s crazy little car outside:
I loved the sign over the museum as well, so many cool details like the train, the lion, the bear on a scooter holding an umbrella!
We didn’t go inside the museum as we only had limited time and needed to start the drive back to Cochem – but it sounds like a fun place to check out if we’re ever in the area again. Trier is also the birthplace of Karl Marx, and there is a museum dedicated to him which we didn’t visit. We unfortunately could only visit Trier on this day as the next we had to head home to the Netherlands, which means we missed out on the Christmas market which was opening the next day! That was a bit disappointing as it’s supposed to be one of the best in Germany, so if you’re ever near Trier between November 23 – December 22 make sure you check it out. We saw the Christmas decorations around the town and the stalls for the market that were being set up did look pretty nice. I especially liked the giant Christmas tree near the Black Gate, and the big lego Santa in a shop window.
If you’re at all interested in history, particularly Roman ruins and beautiful churches, then Trier is definitely worth a visit. If you’d like to read more about our time in Germany have a look here at our visit of the magical Burg Eltz castle, and here for our guided tour of Reichsburg Cochem (another castle). For now, I shall leave you with perhaps one of the coolest little bits of mural art I’ve seen in a while – this spaceship parked in a tiny garage! Trier really is a mix of the old and the modern! Have you ever been to Trier? Leave me a comment and tell me if I missed any must-sees! Until next time 🙂