Europe

Wine Country and Romans

Trier {pronounced Treer} was our destination for the day.  Josie and I drove the 99 km on the autobahn or one hour to the oldest city in Germany.  Trier is so old the city’s history is Roman.  The earliest Roman structures date back to 160-200 AD.  One of the most famous structures is the Porta Nigra or The BlackGate.

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Our drive there was beautiful as we approached the city the view from our car window was of hills filled with vineyards.  The leaves are changing and the hills were on fire with the colors of fall. Once in the city our day began.IMG_20151107_112528_382

{Vineyards along the Mosel River}

The Porta as locals call it is one of four gates constructed when the Romans built the walled city.  The Roman city Trier {Augusta Treverorum} acquired its North Gate in conjunction with the construction of the wall measuring 6 km.

The original Roman name was not recorded, but it has been known as Porta Nigra since the Middle Ages. The gate was originally a light sandstone color, but small organisms have darkened the gate over the centuries. The Porta is the only gate still standing and was preserved because it became a church in the 11th century. A hermit named Simeon lived there and after his death in 1035 he was canonized, and the gate was transformed in to a church in his memory.

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We explored all three floors of the nicely preserved gate.  The gate offers a look in to its Roman past.  We looked below from the second floor and could see the route of the original Roman road.  We also glimpsed actual wall etchings and information in Latin.  On the third floor we looked out at panoramic views of the cathedral and the main market square.

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Trier also has an exciting marketplatz filled with old town homes with timber facades, cathedrals, shopping and bakeries.  Josie and I ate a butter pretzel from a local bakeri and also stopped for cake and coffee at a local restaurant.  We browsed through the modern stores like Saturn, Esprit and The Depot.

A visit to an ancient city is not complete without a trip to the local church or cathedral.  This town has three we went to the largest, St. Peter’s Cathedral named by Constantine The Great.  The church was ginormous….yes, I made that word up, but it’s the only way to describe it.  We didn’t take any pictures, but wow.  The altars were gigantic and there were many.  Bishops were known to erect these wonders in honor of themselves.  The cathedral is also supposed to house relics such as one of the original nails used in Christ’s Crucifixion and also a cloak worn by Christ.  By the way, the cathedral is also the oldest in Germany.

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Josie and I enjoyed people watching and learning about the Trier’s past.  Fashion and electronics rule the square today and it was neat to see all the fashion forward people going about their day in this ancient city.

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