Roman Monuments in Trier (RLP - Germany)

plus THE IDEAL LOCATION FOR A VINTAGE DESTINATION WEDDING IN GERMANY

Trier is one of the tiny little, absolutely charming towns in west Germany and one of the under-rated destinations in Germany, which can be completely explored by only walking. It is infact the oldest city in Germany founded in 17 BCE and its the first ever Roman town built outside of Italy! It was then called Augusta Treverorum. Today the town has quite a few Roman monuments and 7 of those together are listed under UNESCO. Trier is undoubtedly one of the top places to visit in Rheinland-Pflaz.

Porta Nigra Trier UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany


Porta Nigra Trier UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany

Porta Nigra Trier UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany

Porta Nigra Trier History

BRUSSELS TO TRIER via LUXEMBOURG
We went to Trier by train via Luxembourg from Brussels, a journey that's about 4hrs long and with the transfer time for the change of train in Luxembourg it took almost 5hrs! So we reached Trier only by noon. That was exactly the reason why we kept postponing the Trier trip forever since a very long time. Since I depended on public transport, Trier is not a weekend destination from Brussels, I definitely needed 3-4 days because of this 4-5hrs travel time. If you have a car, it can be done though. However Trier is a perfect weekend destination or daytrip from Luxembourg City. 

ROMAN MONUMENTS IN TRIER
DAY 1 IN TRIER

Our first stop, in the afternoon, was one of the most important places of see in Trier, Porta Nigra. It was once a city gate, part of the city wall of the Roman times. This was built in 170 CE. After the fall of Roman Empire this was used for various purposes over the course of time. 
By 11th C CE, it housed monk Simeon. After him, the site began to be used for religious purposes. A magnificent Gothic church was built, expanding Porta Nigra. Some of the wall relief sculptures & engravings belong to the Baroque art period. However by 1803, during French Revolution, the religious extensions were all demolished. Since the sculptures and engravings were on the wall itself, they were let be! 

How to reach Porta Nigra (on Google Maps): Porta Nigra
Porta Nigra Trier Tickets: €4 (included in Trier Antiken Card)
Porta Nigra Trier Opening Hours: 9:00-10:00AM to 4:00-6:00PM in winter & summer respectively

From here, we decided to take the bus to farthest site and then walk back stopping at each site, till their closing time. So, we headed to Trier Amphitheatre. An excellent idea by the tourism department now, is the staircase just opposite to the ticket counter as soon as you enter. That ways, you can go up to see the amphitheatre in all its glory before heading down to see the finer details. The original city wall, once ran along the edges of the amphitheatre, exactly crossing through this viewpoint!

Roman Monuments in Trier Amphitheatre UNESCO Germany

Roman Monuments in Trier Amphitheatre UNESCO Germany

Roman Monuments in Trier Amphitheatre UNESCO Germany

Roman Monuments in Trier Amphitheatre UNESCO Germany

The Romans made this arena but digging into the slate rock here. The dug-out material, formed the elevation around for seating arrangement. Below this arena is the cellar! During excavations, several logs and beams belonging to various lifting systems were found, which would have originally used in lifting participants & animals to the arena. The cellar even has a sewage canal!
There are small entrances on the sides of the arena, some of which lead to rooms below the seating area and some lead to the ancient entrances on the other side. These were originally the public entrance. Today its been recreated. The walls of this passage had been completely filled with frescoes in its heydays! Today most of the plaster is gone and very few spots of the colors are visible in whatever is left of the plaster.
Today, dramas happen here regularly which are not included in the main ticket. When we visited, a rehearsal was happening and it was indeed fascinating to see them fight, with their costume, in the ancient arena! Watching a play here is definitely one of the top things to do in Trier.

How to reach Trier Amphitheatre (on Google Maps): Amphitheatre
Trier Amphitheatre Tickets: €4 (included in Trier Antiken Card)
Trier Amphitheatre Opening Hours: 9:00-10:00AM to 4:00-6:00PM in winter & summer respectively

kaiserthermen imperial baths UNESCO Germany

kaiserthermen imperial baths Greentom Stroller

kaiserthermen imperial baths UNESCO Germany

History of Roman Baths Trier

Our next stop was Imperial Baths (Kaiserthermen). Infact this is the site, that got me interested in visiting Trier. It looks like a mini Colosseum, doesn't it? Rome and Baths go hand in hand! Their love for communal bathing, and extensive bathing with 4 stages is well known and I've already posted about it in my posts on Bath in England and Caerleon in Wales
Its construction began in 3rd C CE and was completed in 4th C, after a pause. In course of time, it fell into disuse as a bath & was used as a castle, as a city wall and a monastery. There is an extensive underground labyrinth which served as a water/steam passage system. There were towers here originally under which logs were burnt to provide hot water for Caldarium & Tepidarium. The smoke was let to pass through, below the pool, making the hot water pool's wall and floor too have a heating effect! That's called Hypocastum (heated from below)!

How to reach Imperial Baths (Kaiserthermen) Trier (on Google Maps): Kaiserthermen
Imperial Baths (Kaiserthermen) Trier Tickets: €4 (included in Trier Antiken Card)
Imperial Baths (Kaiserthermen) Trier Opening Hours: 9:00-10:00AM to 4:00-6:00PM in winter & summer respectively

From Imperial Baths our next destination was Barbara Baths. Barbara Baths (Barbarathermen) is infact larger than Imperial Baths. How large? Size of 6 football fields!!! However this is in a more ruined state than Imperial Baths. Today it has the most comfortable set-up by the tourism department, to view the site. A wooden platform, that goes from one side to another, has placards explaining each and everything that you see at that point. This was built in 2nd C CE.
See the little pillars that hold the flooring (pic below)? Below this was the floor heating of Hypocastum that I mentioned earlier. This place seems to have been filled with several sculptures which were inspired or copied from Classical Greek sculptures. These as well as pillar fragments & other archaeological finds are kept today in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum. 

How to reach Barbara Baths (Barbarathermen) Trier (on Google Maps): Barbara Baths
Barbara Baths (Barbarathermen) Trier Tickets: Free
Barbara Baths (Barbarathermen) Trier Opening Hours: 9:00-10:00AM to 4:00-6:00PM in winter & summer respectively

By this time, it was already evening and our final stop was Roman Bridge, obviously because it has no 'closing time'! This was constructed in 144-152 CE. The stone columns belong to that era. However the arches and roadways were built in recent years. 

How to reach Roman Bridge of Trier (on Google Maps): Roman Bridge
Roman Bridge of Trier Tickets: Free
Roman Bridge of Trier Opening Hours: 24 x 7

BarbaraThermen Barbara baths Trier Roman Monuments

Roman Monuments in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany

Roman Bridge Trier Roman Monuments

Frankenturm Roman Monuments in Trier

On the way back to our hotel, was the Frankenturm. Also a Roman Tower, but not under UNESCO. Its name comes from Franco of Senheim, who lived there in the 14th century. It was closed for renovation when we went, so unfortunately we couldn't see in or look at the view from atop here! 

Now (updated Oct 2020) that Frankenturm is renovated and open again to public, it also means it is open again to be rented for events. The whole idea of getting married in the oldest city of Germany, in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, surrounded by ancient Roman monuments, standing atop one of the ancient Roman Monuments, what could be more awesome!!! Frankenturm (or fondly called Franco's Tower) is the perfect Vintage Wedding Venue for small Destination Wedding in Germany for upto 100 guests.

How to reach Frankenturm Trier (on Google Maps): Frankenturm
Frankenturm Trier Tickets: Open only for events or special pre-requested guided tours (from Trier Tourism office)
Frankenturm Trier Opening Hours: Not applicable

DAY 2 IN TRIER

Next day  our first stops were Trier Cathedral and Church of Our Lady. Next we headed to Konstantin Basilica. This is nothing but a very large, single cubicle. It may not take more than a few minutes to 'see' it! However this is an architectural shocker! It is so large (32m x 61m and 36m tall) but doesn't have a single pillar in it!!! This is the largest building without columns, surviving since Roman Era! This was built around 300 CE and was the Throne room of Emperor Constantine the Great! Today, since the middle of the 19th century, it has been used as a Protestant church, the oldest in Trier.
The building is not only monumental, but was also completely painted. Today, bits & pieces of the plaster can still be found on the window sill, when you see it from outside. The architecture has 2 important optical illusions that add to the massiveness of the building. One, is the number of rows of panes per window. The upper ones are lower than the lowers ones that confuse the perspective for the viewer. Two, the ceiling - each square is actually 3ft x 3ft. But it doesn't feel so, thanks to the 2-step pyramidal structure, that visually increases the height! 
See the several holes in the wall? During the times of Emperor Constantine, the whole wall was decorated with engraved marbles that were mounted on it with iron hooks. When the building was destroyed, the marbles were taken down! The 2 types of bricks are evident in the wall as well - the originals are the wide thin ones (approx 32cm x 3cm), the same as see in Imperial Baths as well. 

How to reach Konstantin Basilica Trier (on Google Maps): Konstantin Basilica
Konstantin Basilica Trier Tickets: Free
Konstantin Basilica Trier Opening Hours: 10:00AM to 4:00-6:00PM in winter & summer respectively

Konstantin Basilica Roman Monuments in Trier UNESCO Germany

Konstantin Basilica Roman Monuments in Trier UNESCO Germany

Frescoes Plaster Konstantin Basilica Roman Monuments in Trier

Marbles Konstantin Basilica Roman Monuments in Trier

Finally we headed to Rheinisches Landesmuseum. Its a very large museum and would take an entire day to see. Chronologically, the displays are from Paleolithic Era till post-Roman era. If you don't have that much time to spend, here are some things about Trier, that you shouldn't miss! 
1. Frescoes on the walls of Roman houses - Few of the retrieved wall frescoes have been expanded to give an idea of how the whole wall would have looked like. One of the fascinating piece is the entire lower panel of the wall of about  2ft x 6ft is almost completely intact, with its cranes and plants! There's another one which is decorated with multi-color spray painting! 
2. Roman sculptures & architecture - As I mentioned earlier, Roman Trier had several Roman architecture and sculptures, including copied/inspired ones from Classical Greek. Most that were excavated here, are here in display.

Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier

Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier Roman Sculptures

Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier Roman Frescoes

Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier Roman Frescoes

3. Roman Mosaics - This museum has the largest collection of Roman Mosaics in the north of Alps! If you still have time, do watch 'In the Realm of Shadow', a movie about the Roman times in Trier! 

How to reach Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier (on Google Maps): Rheinisches Landesmuseum
Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier Tickets: €8 (included in Trier Antiken Card)
Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier Opening Hours: 10:00AM to 5:00PM Tue-Sun

Unfortunately we missed Igeler Column. It is located in Igeler town, which is the next railway station after Trier Sud on the way to Luxembourg. We could have gotten down there, seen the column and got on to the next train. However with the luggage (yes, traveling with toddler means, I have a suitcase, even if its just a 3 day trip) and hourly once train, it seemed complicated. So yeah, we chose to skip it.

How to reach Igeler Column (on Google Maps): Igeler Säule
Igeler Column Tickets: Free
Igeler Column Opening Hours: 24 x 7

All the sites mentioned in this article, except the museum & Frankenturm are together listed under UNESCO as Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St.Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier, making Trier one of the top places to visit in Rheinland-Pfalz region.

We stayed in Trier for 3 days and saw the monuments in Trier for 2 days and went on a short daytrip to Schengen in Luxembourg on 3rd day. Whether you have just a day or 2 or 3 or even 4 days, here are the ideal things to do in Trier and surrounding regions. The town of Trier being very small, it is one of the good places to visit in Germany with kids.

Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier Roman Mosaics

Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier Roman Mosaics

Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier Roman Mosaics Close-up

Trier Antiken Card Premium
 
Hotels at all price points are available in Trier incl Holiday Inn Express Trier, Mercure Hotel Trier Porta Nigra, Best Western Hotel Trier City, Ibis Styles Trier etc. Click here to read the review of the very unique hotel - Residenz am Zuckerberg Hotel, which is not just a hotel but also has a senior citizens residence combined! On the other hand it is also possible to stay overnight inside Frankenturm (Franko's Tower), all by yourself! Definitely one of the unique & historic 'hotels' in Germany!

Nearest Railway Station: Trier HBF. All sites are walkable from Trier HBF. Amphitheatre is the farthest at 1.5km. Buses are also available in the city and there's also an Hop-on-Hop-off bus as well. To visit Rheinland-Pfalz region (incl. Igel) on a day-trip the best idea is to get the Rhineland-Palatinate Pass which given unlimited train train travel for 1-4 days.

ANTIKEN CARD TRIER
All sites are included in Antiken Card Premium (€18) (best for atleast 2 days stay). 
With Antiken Card Basic (€12) any 2 Roman sites and the museum alone can be seen (best suitable when you're on a day trip to Trier).
The validity of the cards are 1 year though. So if you're in nearby cities, you could anyways go for Premium & go back to Trier for another weekend within a year. Also if you're a student in Trier or even if you live in Luxembourg (from where Trier is an easy daytrip), the best idea is to go for the Trier Antikencard (M)ein Jahr (€25), which is a one year pass that provides unlimited entrance to all of these places and discounts on events & tours as well. 

P.S: I was invited by Trier Tourism to experience the region for review purposes, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Roman Monuments in Trier UNESCO Germany Porta Nigra UNESCO Germany Pinterest

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

13 comments:

  1. I love discovering Roman ruins. I didn't know there were so many in Germany, so it's great to have another option to go see them.

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  2. I never knew that the oldest city of Germany was founded in 17th BCE. It is very unique that it is the first Roman city outside of Italy, may be those times Italy must be so vast. Imperial Baths (Kaiserthermen) also is interesting thing to visit here. I must say in ancient world bath was given a very big importance be it a Roman bath or Hamams of Middle East or royal baths of India. It is always interesting to see such places.

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing this detailed post. It is very helpful for first-time travelers like me. Happy to know that the sites are within walking distance from Trier HBF. :)

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  4. I love discovering and exploring sites with great history. This is such a great post! And how cool that this is the first Roman city outside of Italy? In Germany? So very cool! Thank you for sharing!

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  5. I’d never hear of Trier so thank you for the introduction. It has so much history there, I’d love to explore the Porta Nigra and Amphitheatre. It must be cool to watch the Roman performances. The Roman Baths are great to imagine life back in the day. Great itinerary!

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  6. I had no idea there were ruins from the Roman Empire in Germany! I will have to put this on my list for when I go to Germany as I would love to see the amphitheater. It's very cool you got to see the rehearsal for a performance for free! You're right, the baths do look like a colosseum! I never would have guessed it wasn't one.

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  7. Trier seems to be a beautiful little town with a lot of history attached, making for a nice day trip option from many popular cities, which are just 3-4 hours away by train.A Romanian city that too in Germany ? Would be so awesome to explore this in person.

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  8. I am super intrigued by the bath. Using an underground tunnel for the water and it's basic structure... Wow. Quite a small town with so many heritage spots. Bet you had a blast!!

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  9. There are few things that I enjoy more in this world than Roman ruins! These look absolutely spectacular, I need to get there!

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  10. What a beautiful heritage. I would be happy to see the baths, it's something I haven't seen

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  11. The architecture is so interesting! I really need to make a point to visit more smaller cities in my travels, you discover so many unique places!

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  12. I love visiting old ruins like this. It's fun to imagine what took place there a long time ago. I never read about Roman ruins in Germany before! I was in Germany last year and didn't come across them on any of the posts I read when planning the trip. I wish I had!

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  13. Wow, I never knew a small town like Trier would have so many Roman monuments! The Roman bath sounds very intriguing with that underground tunnel. Honestly, I didn't think of visiting before but your post definitely put this town on my list!

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