Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier (RLP - Germany)

Apart from Constantine Basilica (which is also a Roman Monument), 2 other churches are listed under UNESCO in Trier - Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady. Both are located just next to each other.




My first stop was the Church of Our Lady. This is the 'oldest' church in Trier and its been here since the Roman times, however the exact year of founding is unknown! Also the church has been modified renovated several times over the years that the original roman structure is now non-existent, over the ground. But the foundations of a huuuuuge church, belonging to the Roman era, from the times of Emperor Constantine (306-337 CE) have been excavated under the present church! It is so huge that it encompasses both these churches as well as some area around them as well, in its entirety including its cloister etc.


The current architecture primarily belongs to 1227 CE. Quite unusually, the ground plan here is rose shaped and the dome is balanced by 12 pillars. The architecture style is French Gothic and the exterior sculptures (western portal) is a striking reminder of Notre Dame, Paris! Its filled completely with sculptures which are all copies. Some originals were lost during French Revolution, most were moved to various museums. 
The northern & eastern portal are quite interesting and hidden! Northern portal, with the 13th century relief sculpture of Coronation of Mary is in the passage that connects the 2 churches and the eastern portal, with floral & grapevine pattern opens to the cloister.

The most fascinating thing about this church is the frescoes on the pillars! 12 pillars depict 12 apostles and 1 has Jesus Christ as the Man of Sorrows. These were originally painted in 15th C CE. These were commissioned by Adelheid von Besselich, widow of Mayor Clas von Zerf, shortly after his death. They are depicted at the foot of Apostle St.Jude.
To begin with, I didn't know they were tiny images when compared to the half-life-sized images of the apostles. I asked one of the church volunteers about this painting and they had no clue and said that its 'definitely' not in this church!!! Well!!!!! I re-scanned all the frescoes again and found these tiny images, near the feet of St.Jude!
Another thing that caught my eye was the 14th C wooden sculpture of Enthroned Madonna. Unfortunately old stained glass windows are all gone, thanks to World War II!
My next stop was ofcourse, the Cathedral of St.Peter. Even before entering the Cathedral, the first thing to see is the broken pillar, lying in front of the cathedral (yeah, the one on which you'll see kids sliding)! This belongs to the original architecture of the church. It was one of the 4 columns, that supported the original Roman church. This column burst when the cathedral burnt for the first time! While that's the history, they myth is more interesting. Its said that when Emperor Constantine wanted to build the church, the architect asked the devil to bring the 4 columns, lying that he was building a tavern! When the devil delivered the last column, it realized that the building was actually a church. It got furious and threw it down, causing it to break! Today, its a historical slide for kids to play! Its believed to bring good luck to whoever slides on it, just like Mons Monkey!!!


The interior sculptural detail of the church is mind blowing, to say the least! This is a High Baroque masterpiece. Every sculpture is so detailed and projects out of the wall! The church is ever evolving and the west end has new sculptures made by excellent artists who are chosen by conducting competitions. One of the sculpture of a nun, perhaps has the most realistic eyes I've ever seen in a sculpture!!! Its scary to an extent.
This Cathedral has been in existence since 12th C CE and there are a few things in the Cathedral that still stands since then. You can spot the true Romanesque arches above the doors. The sculptural details atop the doorways are perfect examples of 12th C Rheinland masterpieces!


The architecture of the cathedral is unusual again. There are 2 staircases on either sides which leads to the baptismal font in the centre, in the west, above the crypt, which was unfortunately inaccessible! 
Exactly opposite, is again 2 staircases that lead to the Holy Robe - the tunic of Jesus Christ. Like the Holy Blood of Jesus in Bruges, its a matter of belief. Carbon dating in either cases hasn't been possible and the definite proof of both of their existence is only since 12-13th C CE, an era around crusade wars when medieval forgery was rampant. Currently the Holy Robe is not present here and an art installation is in its place. Below the staircases, are life sized marble statues of Constantine and Emperor Helena.


To Get There:
Nearest railway station: Trier HBF
All the sites are walkable from Trier HBF.
On Google Maps: Cathedral of St.Peter, Church of Our Lady 


To Stay:
Hotels at all price points are available in Trier.
Click here to read the review of the very unique hotel - Residenz am Zuckerberg Hotel.

Entry tickets & timings: Free

My complete Trier travelogue: Roman Monuments (Part 1 & Part 2), Cathedral of St.Peter, Church of Our Lady Trier, Karlmarx Museum, Gandhiji statue, Luxemberg Turum, Petrisberg, Spielzeug Museum, Marktbrunnen, Mosel wines.

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.

Bhushavali

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

16 comments:

  1. Jane Dempster-SmithAugust 20, 2019 at 1:12 PM

    I love myths and legends and I giggled at the column one! Very clever! Of course, I believe it. I am so impressed of the quality of the frescoes after all of this time. It is amazing that they are in such great condition. The ceiling is very impressive as well.

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  2. These churches are great architectural pieces... It's fascinating that these buildings, the frescoes, the sculptures, incite imagination and can even inspire. And its Amazing that they stood the test of time. And I like the myth of the broken pillar. That's a witty and an interesting one!

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  3. The devil is in the details - ironic but I think true for churches especially. You have an eagle eye catching the tiny images near the feet of St. Jude! Myths are definitely more interesting than the truth - I love the mythical story about the column and amazing details in the Cathedral of St. Peter!

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  4. Europe truly has some beautiful cathedrals and churches. I sadly was never able to see Notre Dame in person so I will have to visit the Church of Our Lady in Trier instead. It's funny that the column at the Cathedral of St Peter is a historical slide for kids to play on these days!

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  5. What an incredibly beautiful church! I've never heard of Trier let alone know anything about the cathedral. You're so right about the detail here; I didn't know where to look! I'll bookmark this for the future!

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  6. Thanks for the wonderful virtual tour of the cathedral. One of my fav things to in any European country is go cathedral hopping. The interiors are so grand and peaceful.
    Your captures so the intricate details so well. I hope I can visit some day.

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  7. beautifully written and photographed....thanks for posting.

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  8. I'm always amazed to think about what people could build so many years ago without all the technology we currently have today - and they're still standing! And, they're still standing in magnificent form. The architecture, details and art in here looks simply amazing.

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  9. The architecture of these cathedrals is absolutely amazing! I can only imagine how much work went into the planning, design, and construction of these buildings. And, the artwork is phenomenal!

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  10. The artwork of the frescoes are truly amazing and I couldn't imagine the time and patience plus costs of restoration and maintenance. As a Catholic born girl, this could be an awesome place for faith tourism. Adding this to my list!

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  11. Wow, these are such majestic cathedrals! Both of them are architectural delight with so much detailing in the designs and artwork. Reading about the frescoes on the 12 pillars was really fascinating. The interior of the St. Peter's Church is really mindblowing. Thank you for taking us on a virtual trip of these beautiful churches.

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  12. This cathedral reminds me so much of some of the architecture I have seen in much of France, Paris in particular. I did not know there was such beautiful architecture in Germany, despite having been there many times! I have something new to add to my list now!

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  13. The 12 pillars based on the apostles is something that I have not seen before. Quite an interesting theme. The carved arches are so gorgeous. Loved the little details that I can spot around the ceilings and doors. I sure will be adding this to my list now.

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  14. loved the church of oyr Lady at Trier because it is the oldest one there. Also those frescoes on 12 Apostles are worth especially the The Jesus and 12 Sorrows Man. Also the St. Peter Cathedral has wonderful sculpture.
    I love to visit ancient European churches so will keep these two too in my list when I plan for Germany.

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  15. It was a intriguing really article to read and really comprehensive ones It is always so amazing to see what people had built long time ago when they had no equipment or machines to help with their process.

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  16. There is so much resemblance of the architecture from London and France in this beautiful cathedral. I love visiting these cathedrals die to the architecture and the history and takes attached to them and this one has them all. I would love to visit it some day and must admit it’s got great character. My first stop would be the Church of Our Lady as it’s the oldest from the Roman times. Thanks for sharing this beautiful piece of history. Amar Singh.

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