Romans in Germany?! Despite having studied much Roman history in the middle and high school, I did not know the Romans managed to found a city in Germany that still now treasures all of their monuments still alive and well-kept. I got to know this place only thanks to my boyfriend, who has been studying in Trier for one year on Erasmus project. Since he had already paid me a visit in Italy, now it was my turn, and despite my big fear of the planes, I went on one and reach Frankfurt Hahn from Pisa. Nothing went wrong, just some turbulences that frightened me to death ahah After the flight, from the airport I got on the bus, which is just outside the arrivals, towards Trier and within one hour, I had arrived. I was really happy when I met him after three weeks and even happier as a new adventure was about to start.
Some Information about Trier
Trier is located in the north-west part of Germany, in the Bundesland of Rheinland-Pfalz and just 40 minutes away from Luxembourg. The city develops along the river Mosel, where on the banks, we can spot meandering hills covered with vineyards. Trier was founded by the Romans, in proximity of a military settlement, as capital of Gallia Belgica province. The presence of the Romans in the past modeled the architecture of the city as the huge Cathedral, the ruins of the spa and the Porta Nigra indicate. The city centre is pretty small so you do not need to use public transport to go around; just use your feet that will lead you to places that are not highlighted nor on tourist guides nor online.
1) Porta Nigra
Porta Nigra (black gate in English) called like this for its black colour, is a name that originates from the middle-age because the original Roman name has been already long forgotten. It was built in 200 BC using sandstone and was one of the 4 gates that protected the roman city, the so called Castrum. The construction is quite imposing and very well-kept; I happened to attend a concert that took place under Porta Nigra and the atmosphere created by the music and by the Romans monument was great.
The unmissable Marktplatz is the center of every german cities, from the most modern one like Frankfurt, to the most ancient like Trier. Marktplätze are my favourite places in german cities because they always treasure the nice churches, German typical buildings and, of course, I like them for their lively atmospheres thanks to cafés, shops and restaurants that can be found there. Trier Marktplatz is one of the weirdest that I have ever seen in Germany because it is a jumble of different architectural styles: from Baroque, to Renaissance and to classical buildings. At first sight it is a bit too kitsch but when you grow used to it, you start appreciating this great diversity of style. There is a building that particularly caught my attention, which is the Steine, on the right side of the square. It reminds me a lot, especially its windows, of middle-eastern architecture.
Behind the traditional Fachwerkhäuser, I found a small and dark alleyways called Judengasse. It points out that the area, in the past, was inhabited by Jews. It was more a ghetto, where the Jews had their own shops, religious buildings and work. I guess that everything was destroyed during Hitler rules in Germany because I did not see any tracks of an old synagogue in the city.
3) Hohe Domkirche St. Peter
The cathedral, along with Porta Nigra and Trier historical centre, are part of the UNESCO world heritage. It was built on the ruins of a luxurious Roman villa, in the attempt to widespread Christianity in Germany and later was expanded, making it one of the biggest religious complex at that time. From the outside we can spot a contrast in the style: one part follows the romanesque architecture, the other part reminds more of a middle-age church. Indeed, Franks destroyed the complex and later, rebuilt it using the style of that time. The cathedral stands out the most in the city, even among all other historical buildings and gives to the city an aura of ancient time.
4) Petrisberg Aussicht
I would not have got to know this place if it was not for my boyfriend. His university is located on the top of this hill, surrounded by vineyards, a special landscape that I did not know I could find in Germany. I am used to see vineyards all over me because I am from an area in Italy where we produce wine but I did not know that germany had as many vineyards as we have and the landscape, that they create, is very picturesque: rich vegetation and green grape trees, scattered all around, on the sinuous hills. On the top, besides, the big university complex, we can find a big park and many posh houses that are obviously very expensive. Halfway through the top of the hill, there is the scenic spot of Petrisberg Aussicht, which can be easily reached by bus number 4. It offers a beautiful view over the whole city and the surrounding nature.
5) Kurfürstliches Palais
The Palace was built, on the ruins of Konstantinbasilika, at the end of the 18th century as the Archbishop’s residence. At that time, Trier was a catholic-ruled country and part of the many German small states. I was amazed by the beauty of this Baroque Palace and its nice garden, filled with multicoloured flowers. The colour, in my opinion, is quite special as it is pink and I have never seen many pink historical buildings around. The garden is a perfect place where to sit down and rest a bit :3
6) Break Time
I start with saying that I have not tried many restaurants in Trier because we mainly ate at home but, wandering around, we found an interesting cafe called Suite au Chocolat, which mainly serves hot drinks: different kinds of teas and the most diverse flavours of hot chocolate. It is perfect place to stop after a long walk through the historical city center as it is just behind the main cathedral and near Porta Nigra.
Photo taken from internet!!!