The One with Trier, Germany


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Making our way to Trier, Germany!
Traveling ain't a piece of cake, lemme tell ya... But you gotta do what you gotta do and take advantage of living so close to so many amazing things!
Jane's head placement was perfect :)
Parisian chic! LOVED the crystal chandelier and every single detail.
Normally I don't share so many photos of where we stay, but wow I want to live here!
And this mirror! Swoon!
Since the weather was holding up after our morning in Luxembourg we decided to not waste it and dove into exploring Trier. Germany's oldest city lies at the head of the scenic Mosel Valley, near the border with Luxembourg. An ancient Roman capital, Trier brags that is was inhabited by Celts for 1,300 years before Rome even existed! Today, Trier is thriving and feels young.

Founded by Augustus in 16 B.C., Trier was a Roman town called Augusta Treverorum for 400 years. When Emperor Diocletian divided his overextended Roman empire into four sectors, he made Trier the capital of the west: roughly modern-day Germany, France, Spain, and England. For most of the fourth century this city of 80,000 with a four-mile wall, four great gates, and 47 round towers, was a favored residence of Roman emperors. Emperor Constantine lived here, spending lavishly on urban projects. As a military town in a godforsaken corner of the empire, Trier received lots of perks from Rome to make it livable for those assigned here. But when the last emperor checked out in A.D. 395, the money pretty much dried up, and that was the end of Trier's ancient glory days. In the late 400s, when Rome fell to the barbarians, so did Trier.

Trier's main draw is the chance to experience Germany's Roman and early Christian history. The best place to start doing so is at the huge Porta Nigra. Of the four-mile town wall's four huge massive gates, only this northern gate survives. It is incredibly impressive!
Since ancient Trier was built as a capital, its architecture was fittingly grand. This is the most impressive Roman fortification in Germany and it was built without mortar, only iron pegs hold the sandstone blocks together.
This gate survived because it became a church. St. Simeon, a pious Greek recluse, lived inside the gate for seven years and after his death in 1035, the St. Simeon monastery was established and the Roman gate was used as a church and monastery. The round part on the right in the photo below is the 12-century apse of the church that was added to the original Roman architecture.
Leaving the gate we moseyed down Trier's main pedestrian drag towards market square.
Loving the colors and pink poodle in this window display!
Cute pink building.
At #19, the House of the Three Magi is a colorful Venetian-style building. Now a cafe, it was constructed in the 13th century as a keep. Before the age of safe banking, rich men hoarded their gold and silver inside their homes and everyone knew it. Understandably paranoid, they needed fortified houses like this one. You can see the floating door a story above the present-day entrance on the left. A wooden staircase to this door - once the only way in our out - could be pulled up when necessary. Genius.
Another lovely set of buildings. Very stylish.
This super glam H&M is in a building that used to be a palace for the archbishop. The seal above the door has a crown flanked by a crosier representing the bishop's religious power and a sword demonstrating his political might. This did not sit well with the townspeople of Trier. There was a centuries-long struggle between Trier's citizens and its archbishop.
Trier's Hauptmark! A people-filled swirl of fruit stands, flowers, and lovely painted facades.
The Renaissance-era St. Peter's Fountain. It symbolizes thoughtful city government with allegorical statues of justice, fortitude, temperance, and prudence.
Just a block down from the market square is the oldest Christian church in Germany: St. Peter's Cathedral. After Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire in A.D. 312, his mother Helena allowed part of her palace in Trier to be used as the first church on this spot. In A.D. 326, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his reign, Constantine began the construction of two great churches both names St. Peter's: this one and the one in Rome.
A piece of a 60-ton ancient granite column quarried near Frankfurt - one of four used in the fourth century Roman church - lies just outside the entrance. The kids thought it was more fun than the interior of the church so we let them play around with some local kids while Chris and I took turns checking out the inside. 
At the back of the church is an elaborate altar dedicated as a memorial to one of the city's bishops.
Looking down the nave towards the main altar.
The gorgeous organ.
Back outside we meandered through town just enjoying the atmosphere.
Eventually we found ourselves at what is the largest intact Roman structure outside of Rome: the Imperial Throne Room. The last emperor moved out in A.D. 395 and petty kings moved in throughout the middle ages. By the 12th century the archbishops had taken it over using the nave as a courtyard and converting the apse into a five-story palace. The building became a Lutheran church in 1856 and it remains the leading protestant church in Trier. It was badly damaged by bombs in WWII, but has since been restored.
Standing inside the vast structure, you see the genius of Roman engineering: there is a 65-foot wide round arch over the apse. The small rectangular holes between the windows were chimneys which vented hot air that circulated below the floor, heating the building. Each of the squares in the ceiling above measures 10 x 10 feet. Huge. While today's restored roof cheats using concrete girders, the Roman original was all wood, relaying on triangular trusses above the flat ceiling. Today's windows match the Roman originals - small frosted panes held in place by a wooden frame.
When the basilica was a throne room in ancient times it was decorated with golden mosaics, rich marble, colorful stucco, and busts of Constantine and his family filling seven niches. The emperor was in majesty under a canopy on his altar-like throne. That must have been mighty impressive. 
Attached to the original Roman structure is a pink Rococo wing. This is the Elector's palace and was added in the 18th century to house the archbishop-elector. Today it houses local government offices. Covered in scaffolding, natch.
So here's a picture of this pretty pink palace from the interwebs:
There is a beautiful garden nearby. 
Pink framwork on the Archaeological Museum.
A little further down are the Imperial Baths. Built by Constantine. these were destined to be the biggest of Trier's three Roman baths and the most intricate baths of the Roman world. Trier's cold northern climate and the enormity of Constantine's ego meant that these Imperial baths required a two-story subterranean complex of pipes, furnaces, and slave galleys to keep the water at a perfect 120 degrees Fahrenheit. But, the grandiose vision was never finished. When Constantine left Trier in A.D. 316, the huge and already costly project was scuttled.
Don't know what this building is, but it's coolio.
PINK!
On our way back to the car we passed through the market square and admired these half-timbered beauties which marked Trier's 14-century Jewish ghetto. An alley led under these buildings to a gated ghetto where 60 families bought protection from the archbishop until 1418.
Our family in front of the Porta Nigra in Trier, Germany on Saturday May 23rd 2015.

Fun day! Last stop: Burg Eltz!
Paige Taylor Evans © // Quinn Creatives DESIGN