The first stop on our river cruise was Trier.
Trier is an ancient city, situated in a vine covered, red sandstone valley along the Moselle river. The city was founded by the Celts and taken by the Romans in the 1st century AD. Trier is likely the oldest city in Germany.
There were two guided sightseeing tours offered. The first included the Ponta Nigra or Black Gate, the basilica, and some free time in the town square, while the second included the Roman Baths, the basilica, and the Black Gate. I really enjoy learning the history of a place, so I opted for the Roman-centric excursion.
Our first stop were the Roman Baths. The complex seemed surprisingly large for any bathhouse, whether it was built today or in 15BC. The ruins had been well-excavated, but I'd estimate less than 10% of the original stonework was still present. There were plenty of original roman arches and brickwork though to give a sense of the architecture. You can still walk down into the basement hallways, which was my favorite part. Our guide pointed out a distinct tool mark in one wall, we would've never noticed it if we didn't have an expert guide.
After we saw the Roman bathhouse, we walked through a garden with a huge hedge that had arches cut into it along the winding pathways. We turned a corner and the hedges opened up to reveal the Bishop's residence; a pink building, with ornate white statues surrounding it. The residence is actually on the backside of Aula Palatina also known as Constantine's Basilica. After admiring the flowers and landscaping or the bishop's lawn, our guide took us into the basilica.
Aula Palatina was commissioned by Constantine I at the beginning of the fourth century. It's still an active church, and has seen renovation and rebuilding through the centuries. In the 19th century, Frederick William IV of Prussia had the basilica restored to its original Roman state. The buildings roof burned during an allied air raid in 1944, and when that damage was repaired it was not fully restored, so today you will see bare brick on the interior walls.
We exited the basilica and made our way for the Cathedral of St Peter. This is the oldest cathedral in Germany, and its outer walls are ornately decorated with additions from every era since the cathedral was constructed. The cathedral was initially placed on the foundation of Roman buildings, and it was later destroyed by the Franks, rebuilt, destroyed by the Normans, and rebuilt again.
The town square is very close by, and we walked through it on the way to Ponta Nigra, or the Black Gate. This is the only major, original section of Roman wall left in Trier, and the third monument in the UNESCO World Heritage site.
As our ship sailed past Trier for the next town, we sailed under the Roman bridge, its footings were placed in the second century. This is the oldest bridge in Germany.
Aula Palatina & Cathedral of St Peter
Ponta Nigra & Roman Bridge
Born and raised in the travel industry, Avery clings to a unique and profound drive to explore the planet's people, their cultures, history and architecture, as well as natural settings, landscapes and ecosystems. Outside of his upbringing in the travel industry, Avery's higher education mainly consists of Environmental Biology and Anthropology; his knowledge in both greatly influence his travel.