Trier is a small German city right on the border with the small country of Luxemburg and is considered the oldest city in Germany. It is famous for its world-class Roman ruins - easily the best in Europe. It is one of Europe's most stunning cities and one that everyone should put on their bucket list.

Trier is located in Germany's important Moselle wine region (so wine tasting while in Trier is another pastime). Today many of the Roman Ruins remain and one can learn what daily life was like in Roman times. Got to other countries and one can find Roman ruins and Roman bridges completely unmarked on the map (even Google Maps).


History And Importance of Trier

A settlement here was first founded by the Celts in the 4th century BC but was later conquered by the Romans. While the Germans failed in their bit to conquer and subdue much of what is today Germany (that they called "Magna Germania") they did take what is today Germany west of the River Rhine (Germania Inferior).

The old Celtic settlement was renamed by the Romans Augusta Treverorum (that is "The City of Augustus among the Treveri"). In time, it grew to become one of the largest and most important Roman cities in the greater region. It even became the capital for administering much of the Western Roman Empire for a time.

  • Oldest City: Oldest German City
  • Oldest Bishop Seat: It is The Oldest Seat of a Bishop North Of the Alps

The city's history continued, and it became an important city during the Middle Ages. It had the status of one of the seven electors of the Holy Roman Empire.

  • UNSECO: Trier's Entire Catalogue of Roman Monuments Have Been World Heritage Listed Since 1986

Today there are many old Roman ruins to discover in Trier and much of the historic Old Town has been designated as the "Center of Antiquity". Some of the more notable ones are the Porta Nigra, Aula Palatina, Three Roman Baths, The Roman Bridge, and Trier Amphitheater.

Related: This Is Ancient Rome's Largest Temple (And Yes, It's Impressive)

The Roman Gate And The Basilica of Constantine

Porta Nigra:

Porta Nigra is a stunning fortified gate in the old 2nd-century Roman town walls. Port Nigra is perhaps the most striking monument in the city and is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. Its construction likely started in 170 AD the original gate was made up of two four-storeyed towers. It is made out of gray sandstone and is named for its dark color.

  • Built: From 170 AD

Aula Palatina:

Also known as the Basilica of Constantine, the Aula Palatina is a Roman palace basilica built by emperor Constantine I (also called Constantine the Great) in the early 300s AD.

Not only has the building survived, it even remains in use. It is used as a Protestant Church - the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland. The Aula Pataina has the largest extant hall from antiquity having a length of 67 meters and a width of 26 meters with a height of 33 meters.

  • Built: In Around 310 AD By Constantine The Great (Who Also Moved the Capital to Constantinople)
  • Used: As a Protestant Church

Related: Ancient Latrines: What You'll Learn At These Historic Sites

Other Notable Roman Attractions In Trier

Trier Amphitheater:

Just about any notable Roman city had an amphitheater and baths and Trier is no exception. The Trier Amphitheater once held the infamous gladiatorial combats and is dug into the side of a hill. It was built in the 2nd century during the reign of Antoninus Pius and could seat around 20,000 spectators.

  • Capacity: Around 20,000 Spectators
  • Built: In The 2nd Century

The Roman Bridge:

The Roman Bridge in the city crosses the Moselle River and is believed to be the oldest standing bridge in Germany. Not all the bridge is original - the nine bridge pillars date from the 2nd century AD. The upper parts date from the early12th and the early 18th centuries when it was rebuilt after war damage.

  • Oldest: The Roman Bridge is the Oldest In Germany

The Roman Baths:

There are three sets of Roman Baths in Trier and the most notable of them are the Barbara Baths and the Trier Imperial Baths.

The Barbara Baths are the largest Roman baths north of the Alps - although they may be closed to visitors out of interest of preserving them. The Trier Imperial Baths were built in the 4th century AD but were never completed. Somewhat bewilderingly they were made into a castle during the Middle Ages.