Food and hospitality in the centre of the ancient world

The Roman Empire fell many hundreds of years ago, and yet it has left its mark everywhere you look in Trier on the Moselle. Sometimes, you hear the people of Trier complain that they run the risk of stumbling across Roman remains when they are doing the gardening, but they are still very proud of their city’s heritage, and rightly so. Seven of the nine monuments in Trier that were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1986 are of Roman origin. The town’s most famous landmark, the legendary Porta Nigra is one of them.
The Porta Nigra is fondly known as ‘Pochta’ by the people of Trier. And they honour Saint Simeon, who is closely linked to the Porta. The monk Simeon was well travelled, learned and highly respected when he turned his back on the world in 1030 and had himself walled up in the giant gate, dedicating himself to prayer as a hermit. The people thought he could perform miracles, and have not forgotten him to this day.

The ‘Toga Tour’ in Trier, Moselle valley

The ‘Toga Tour’ in Trier is a real experience, Moselle valley

The Romans even left behind an amphitheatre. It is less than two kilometres by foot from the Porta Nigra to the Roman arena. But why rush? ‘Maach mellisch’ means ‘go slow’ in the Trier dialect, and it suits their way of life. If you take things at a leisurely speed and take the time to look at the details, you can soak up the atmosphere of the city and simply enjoy it.
After just 400 metres, it is time for the first rest. Trier is not just the city with the most World Heritage Sites: the main market with its magnificent Renaissance and Baroque buildings is like the city’s living room. You simply feel at home. There are wine stalls where you can taste the regional wines or you can sit in the sunshine and enjoy local Moselle snacks and a Porz Viez (the Moselle–Franconian equivalent of a Frankfurt ‘Bembel’ or jug of cider). The dry cider has a character that is as unspoilt and charming as the people of Trier themselves.

Trier cathedral in autumn, Moselle valley

View of Trier cathedral in autumn, Moselle valley

Just around the corner, the locals enjoy playing boule under the plane trees. You can feel just how close you are to France in the square in front of the cathedral. Divine. Or perhaps just a little bit devilish? Legend has it that the people of Trier banished the devil when building their cathedral, and that he was so angry that he threw a huge granite pillar at them, only missing them by a hair’s breadth. This granite pillar, known as the ‘Domstein’, still stands outside the cathedral today. It is another landmark of the city every local child must have climbed over at some point. The powerful cathedral with its wonderfully calm cloisters is the oldest episcopal church in Germany. Together with the elegant Gothic Liebfrauenkirche next door, it is also a World Heritage Site. And it is also built on Roman ruins.

The Aula Palatina is also as new, filled with remarkable light and a wonder of Roman architecture (with underfloor heating included, even then). What was once the emperor’s palace hall is now a protestant church. And the temple of wellness that Emperor Constantine had hoped to gift to the city of Trier instead was barracks, a castle, a monastery and the city walls. The Imperial Baths are a veritable labyrinth full of exciting and sometimes dark tales. While many of the Roman monuments have changed their purpose over the years, the baths are well preserved and have remained part of the city. The people of Trier love their history, which can be enjoyed as part of a range of costume tours. For example, Gladiator Valerius tells how he fought bitterly for his life in front of up to 20,000 spectators in the amphitheatre.

Aula Palatina in Trier, Moselle valley

View of Aula Palatina, UNESCO World Heritage Site in Trier, Moselle valley

Whether alone or part of a tour, it is difficult to take in all the World Heritage Sites in Trier in one go. But don’t worry: “Besser duuht gelaacht, als wie freckt geärjert“*, as the people of Trier say. And the same applies if your spade turns up Roman gold coins. It’s all happened before.
*Better die laughing than be annoyed to death.

More recommended excursions for culture vultures in Trier:

More information about holidays in Trier

Find out everything about events, sights and more destinations in Trier at Trier Tourismus und Marketing GmbH.

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