Location: Trier, Germany
The train rumbled high on the banks of the Moselle, offering a magnificent view of the river snaking its way through a valley of rolling hills. I gazed dreamily on the lush landscape and before long I realized that the train had pulled into the station of Trier, my latest destination in my Germany trip. Italy was too far for me to travel to considering my short weekend getaway from work, so I decided to look for a slice of Rome in this border city.
Trier is famed for being the Germany city with magnificent Roman ruins. From the famed dark city gate of Porta Nigra to the remnants of amphitheater and Roman baths, a treasure trove of Imperial Roman architectures awaited my exploration. It would not be difficult to imagine oneself to be in Rome instead of a city in Germany when taking a stroll in the city.
|Roman era walls are easily visible a short distance away from the train station.|
To the interested readers, here is my 1 day itinerary in Trier which assumes that you will stay overnight in the town. Exploring Trier can take a full day for the interested, or just half a day for the merely curious. Click into each link to visit the dedicated post to the place of interest.
- wake up and leave Hilles Hostel
- stroll to Imperial Baths; enter to visit if you wish to, I did not enter
- stroll around the Palace Gardens, take photos of Electoral Palace and Aula Palatina (1 - 2 hours)
- continue to stroll to Roman Bridge (Römerbrücke) (~1/2 hour)
- walk towards Hauptmarkt, visit St Gangolf Church (1 hour)
- enjoy lunch
- walk towards town center and visit Liebfrauenkirche then go next door to visit Trier Cathedral (1 - 2 hours)
- visit the must see attraction of Porta Nigra; you could choose not to enter as it is impressive enough from the outside (1 hour; more if you enter)
- go to the far side of town to visit Amphitheater (1 hour)
One could spend more time wandering the streets of Trier and just let yourself stumble upon art treasures like the few beautiful fountain sculptures I posted below. Do not limit yourself to a 1 day itinerary.
|A different view of the wall|
|Walking past an opened section of the wall to visit the Palace Gardens.|
|View of the wall from Palace Gardens side|
|Wall section that allows archer to aim towards intruders|
|Ancient and modern in harmony with each other|
My experience of Trier was enchanted by the blossoms of an approaching springtime. I remembered being mesmerized by petals floating down, hypnotized by swaying branches and being kissed by a cool breeze. The garden in front of the Palace of Trier was a particularly great place for blossom viewing, the building’s color complementing the grove as a beautiful backdrop for amateur and professional photographers alike.
|Morning view of the suburbs near Hilles Hostel|
|Hilles Hostel's location is quite close to this bridge where one could train spot.|
|A pyramid in Trier? Did the Egyptians arrived with the Romans? This is actually the very tall and wide roof of a church, so tall and wide that it looks like a pyramid from this angle.|
|One could easily fall in love with Trier with such a beautiful sight|
|Apartment buildings in Trier suburbs|
|The house at the corner of the street|
|A train passing by when I was walking back from the suburbs|
|High Voltage - (Life Threatening) Danger|
|Teddies sold in pharmacies - to calm kids?|
|Modern apartments near to ancient walls|
Despite its main attractions, Trier was not founded by the Romans but by Celts, centuries before being conquered by the former. It is also one of the oldest cities in Germany (it is contending with Cologne, Worms and Kempten for that title), so old that it celebrated its 2000th anniversary on 1984. Its importance did not diminish after the fall of the Roman Empire since its location at the border made it a target of France. I was also surprised to know that Karl Marx was born there, with his house converted into a museum to showcase his world changing ideology.
|Looking towards Konstantinplatz|
|Morning sun reflecting off Konstantinplatz|
|Graffiti adds an artistic feel to the otherwise blank and bland wall|
|A synagogue in Trier|
With its age and importance, I would be surprised if it did not snag any UNESCO heritage entries – for the curious reader, there are 9 heritage buildings in Trier, all listed as a single UNESCO WHS entry. Apart from the group of Imperial Roman buildings, its iconic Trier Cathedral and adjoining Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) were also part of the entry, with the former holding the record of the oldest church in Germany. Since I am an avid UNESCO WHS hunter, this further chalked up my reason for visiting Trier, although I can only make one check off my list instead of slashing out multiple entries.
|I actually stumbled upon this Hockbunker accidentally. It was erected during World War 2 to protect officials and civilians against potential air attacks but was not completed (you can see the roof that is not covered by any roof tiles or slates).|
|The Hochbunker is overgrown with vines|
|There are a total of 7 Hochbunker in Trier, 4 of them still well preserved.|
|Stumbled upon a nice Audi here...|
|So nice that I took another look at its front...|
|The quiet streets|
Historical architectures aside, its close proximity to Luxembourg was the other reason that drove most visitors to stay in the city (including me). A short 1 hour train journey was all it took for me to cross the border, making such a day trip to the miniscule neighboring country feasible. Add to the fact that most budget travelers would balked at the price of accommodation in Luxembourg and you get another reason why most preferred to stay in Trier during their visit.
|Apart from the few Roman attractions, the rest of the town is not as lively in the morning. I noticed that the house at the right of this picture had a curious image that look rather familiar...|
|Hmm? What's this? The house of Karl Marx?|
|The front door of Karl Marx' house is the furthest I went. The house turned museum was not opened yet and I did not return for a visit.|
|Marx would be remembered for the ideals collectively known as Marxism, and unfortunately those ideologies became a pariah ideal in the western world.|
|There are a lot of different fountain designs in Trier - this is a fountain with a few gentlemen.|
|Going towards Liebfrauenkirche|
|A church around the corner|
|The buildings past this portal and partially hidden in view are the Trier Cathedral and Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady).|
|Crucifix of Jesus above the portal|
|Where does this beautiful portal lead to? Perhaps to the cloister of Liebfrauenkirche? Unfortunately I did not explore...|
|The timber frame structure (building on the left) is very common in German architecture.|
|A view of Marktplatz|
|Just randomly looking at a few signs with years and dates in Trier will make me feel that the town exudes with history.|
|So hungry... must eat Bratwurst for energy...|
|Handwerkerbrunnen - a metal sculpture of various occupations. This is another accidental stumble in the intersection of Nagelstraße and Fahrstraße. I highly recommend travelers to seek it out - I personally admire its detailed workmanship.|
|The man and the sculpture|
|Another curiously nice building around a corner of Trier|
|Other nice buildings - these are near the train station|
|Looks like he wanted to say "Winter is coming"|
|Balduinsbrunnen, the name of this fountain, has stood here for over a century (since its completion in 1897). The figure on top of the fountain, and whom which the fountain is named after, is Balduin of Luxembourg, the Archbishop of Luxembourg from 1307 - 1354.|
|An image of Peter of Aspelt, an elector born in Trier.|
|The end of March heralds the coming of spring|
I originally split my time evenly between Trier and Luxembourg, thinking that it would be enough to just spend an average full day in the city of Roman ruins, and I messed up my own schedule when I was there. I just could not drink in enough of its beauty that I decided to sacrifice some of my planned time for Luxembourg and strolled the streets to absorb the unforgettable sensation of a city awakening in spring. Attractions in Trier are close enough in proximity that a day was enough to visit them all, that is if you only went to take selfies. I was not satisfied with spending the minimum time there, and I patrolled the city a few times just to take in the atmosphere at different time of the day. That is how much I enjoyed my experience in Trier.