Trier
AN ANCIENT CITY BUT YOUNG AT HEART

Colosseum © Schubert/DAAD
Trier Colosseum© Schubert/DAAD

Even the ancient Romans found Trier appealing. They built the city in the verdant valley of the Mosel River. As the oldest city in Germany, Trier still bears the traces left behind by the Romans. Nowadays many students live in the midst of the ancient baths and monuments.

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WELCOME TO TRIER

Trier is over 2,000 years old – making it the oldest city in Germany. The Romans founded the city in the Moselle River valley. The region is well-known today for its excellent wines. There are many beautiful vineyards located around Trier which are perfect for taking walks. But there’s plenty of nature inside the city of Trier as well. Old trees rise among the historic buildings, casting welcome shade in the summertime. Trier has a special atmosphere all of its own – a rhythm of peace and tranquillity.

There is a lot to see in downtown Trier with traces of the Roman times almost everywhere you look. Some two million tourists visit the city every year. As you exit the train station, you can’t help but notice the Porta Nigra, the ancient gate to the city. After you pass through the archway, you’ll enter a large pedestrian zone lined with cafés and shops of every kind – the perfect place to treat yourself to an ice-cream cone or simply go window-shopping!

The cathedral is another notable tourist attraction. This giant church, along with the Porta Nigra, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The impressive building definitely deserves a closer look. It contains an extremely precious relic – the Holy Tunic. Legend has it that Jesus Christ wore the tunic at his crucifixion.

You should also visit the largest plaza in the city, the Hauptmarkt (Main Market). Interestingly enough, Trier has very few half-timbered houses which are so typical for German cities. The building style of the Romans was quite different; they preferred stone over wood. At the Hauptmarkt, however, you’ll find many more of the typical German wooden facades.

Right behind the cathedral and the Basilica of Constantine are the Kurfürstliches Palais (Electoral Palace) and the palace gardens. That’s where you’ll find the Rhenish State Museum of Trier which presents the eventful history of the city. When the weather is nice, you’ll find many locals relaxing on the lawns among the old, shady trees. A little further on, you’ll come to the Cathedral Square where a large Christmas market takes place each year.

The Imperial Bath is another relic from the Roman times. It is an authentic Roman bathing house where you can still bathe today. A little further away is the amphitheatre where Romans used to watch battling gladiators. Nowadays it’s used as a venue for concerts and theatre performances.

LIVING IN TRIER

Trier is not a very large city, which is practical because it means you can reach all the important places in town by bike. And you don’t have to worry how you’re going to get home at night – there are city busses that take you everywhere. The main train station and Porta Nigra are the central bus transfer points.

Because the city is rather small, it’s worth taking an excursion to the vineyards around Trier. How about taking a nice summer walk through the vineyards?  

You won’t be bored in Trier. Students love the Metropolis, a club near the Viehmarkt (cattle market). Lots of young people meet at the Zebra Club, which hosts student parties on a regular basis.

If you’re more interested in music, you should attend one of the open-air jazz concerts in the summer which are regularly held at the Café Brunnenhof near the Porta Nigra. The ancient Roman amphitheatre is the scene of numerous concerts and gladiator fights in the summer. Many well-known bands have played on the ancient Roman stage including the Cologne rock band “BAP” and the German medieval rock band “In Extremo”. Operas are occasionally performed there as well. You can also attend concerts, workshops and other events at the cultural centre Alte Tuchfabrik, or TuFa for short.

If you want a taste of European culture, you can easily skip over to Luxembourg for a day. The city-state is about half an hour away and definitely worth a visit.

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