I do have to say that during this trip, I’ve seen many facets of my old home I wouldn’t have considered to be particularly exciting as they turned out to be. Aside from living close to Belgium and Luxembourg, we also live close to Treve or Trier: Officially the oldest city in Germany – built by Romans and severely influenced by the old Roman culture.
Trier has come into existence as early 2000 years ago – as a city NOT just a settlement. Its per capita rate has been up and down, but remains at a steady 100,000 citizen rate for the past decades.
Now, aside from Trier having some shopping opportunities, bars, and clubs, there is much more to see culturally speaking.
The most striking feature about it is the Porta Nigra, roughly translating to “Black Gate.” The Porta used to be light grey when it was built around 200 AC but over the years it has turned into its distinct black color. Built by the Romans, it has been modified over the years and been fully reconstructed by Napoleon in the 19th century. Since the medieval ages it is officially called “Black Gate” and it has gone through centuries of history one cannot fully comprehend. Among other landmarks of Trier, the Porta was designated a World Heritage Site.
The Amphitheater was built around 100 AD and used to host 18,000 crowd-hungry people in the past. It still stands nowadays and is a common place for the so-called Brot & Spiele (Bread & Circuses) during the summer. This is the biggest Roman-inspired festival in Germany, showing gladiator fights and showcasing old Roman stories. Sometimes well-known German actors and actresses participate in these shows, which makes for an even bigger audience.
The Imperial Roman baths were built around 400 AD and show the Roman bathing culture back in the days. Visitors are able to see the different pools, to learn more about its history and to walk around the grounds. It’s an interesting concept, albeit I dare say a bit overpriced (such as most cultural sights in Trier).
Then you have the Dom of Trier, which is a beauty to look at once you stop by. During the winter months leading up to the holidays you will find a neat Holiday Market around it and the city’s market place. It’s pretty large and vendors come from as far as Luxembourg and Belgium.
During the summer, the city hosts its annual Altstadtfest (Old City fest), which starts at the Porta Nigra and goes all the way through the pedestrian zone until it ends at the Viehmarkt. It’s humongous and you can find many good vendors during the day as well as great wines in the evening. Since it’s usually in June, the weather is warm enough to be walking around outside and taking in the activities. There are bands, entertainers, an amusement park, and much more, meaning you can either go there by yourself or with the entire family.
In addition to this, you will also find many smaller wine fests in the town surrounding Trier, as it lies on the river Moselle, which is a well-known vine region throughout the world. The most striking feature (aside from the red wall when you enter the city) are the amount of vineyards you see once you walk along the Moselle river. Vine fests usually take place in July and August. Trier’s Weinfest is in the beginning of August and if you are really into vine, you should certainly check it out!
Other than the cultural sights and annual events going on, I have to say that Trier is pretty boring. I am not a big fan of their night life, as I’ve already pointed out in Deutschland: The First Few Days back in 2011. True, you can walk past the Karl-Marx-House on your way to bars, but really, who wants that? Most of the time, the places are rather deserted (at least throughout fall to spring) or don’t host a quality audience I can connect to. And the clubs have rather crappy than great music. I guess I am simply over the fact of going out close to home but I also find this to be for a good reason. While I was there in April, I enjoyed taking some good shots and walking in and out of stores but at the same time, I was essentially bored in this city. Trier – worth the visit but move on after!
[For more pictures on Trier, go to Trier – Old Roman Home (I) and Trier – Old Roman Home (II).]