Monday, June 27, 2011

Visiting the Oldest City in German-Trier

A few weeks ago Brian and I volunteered to drive a couple of the church girls to Girls Camp (another post later, once I sort through pictures).  It was near a city called Trier which is one of the oldest cities in Germany. It actually boasts itself as THE oldest city in Germany.  Here's what Wikipedia had to say about it.

Trier is a city in Germany on the banks of the Mosel River. It is the oldest city in Germany, founded in or before 16 BC, but was settled in 2000 BC.  Trier lies in a valley between low vine-covered hills of ruddy sandstone in the west of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, near the German border with Luxembourg and within the important Mosel wine-growing region

"For centuries this city was among the most important in Europe, at one time second only to Rome." -Daytrips by Earl Steinbicker

So, I don't know the history for every site we saw, and I'm sure you don't want to be bored with all of it anyway. So, if I know what one of the pictures is of, I'll state it, but I'll try not to give a long ol' explanation, hopefully. :)  

The next picture, however, needs a little bit more of an explanation cuz it's the most famous thing in Trier.  And if it's in quotes, I'm quoting my "Daytrip" book.  (Also keep in mind it was 95 degrees that day, the hottest of the year so far... and the next day it rained...)

This picture is of the Porta Nigra. It's pretty much the symbol of Trier and "one of the finest Roman relics anywhere. Built towards the end of the 2nd century AD as a massive fortified gate, it was converted into a church about 1040 and restored to its original appearance by Napoleon after 1804, when Trier was a part of France. No mortar was used in its construction; instead the stone blocks are joined by iron clamps. The name meaning black gate, derives from its present color-the result of centuries of pollution."

(From now on, my descriptions of pictures will be below the picture. I always get confused on people's blogs with this.)

Brian took most of the pictures on this trip.  He does a pretty good job and I love our new Nikon camera to replace our old one.

I like this picture because it doesn't just center on the gate like most other pictures do. I like how it shows what the town looks like nowadays.

This is right next door to Porta Nigra and is the Simeonstift, a former priests' residence from the 11th Century.  Now it is the tourist office, restaurant and museum.

Looking through the gate into Downtown Trier

Spencer doing what he does best when we're touring... chasing the birds.

There was an amazing tourist train, similar to the one we took for his birthday.  Spencer was in heaven. Do you see what he's doing? He's pointing to the seat because he wanted me to come sit down.  Amazingly, though, that day he made the sound for "Ma-Da", which means "Mom, Dad." He could already say both of them separately on their own, but putting the sounds together for both of us at the same time is a pretty amazing thing, especially when he also started signing them both at the same time really fast.  It is kind of funny cuz now he'll do that all the time when he wants both of us.

I actually kinda like this picture. I haven't liked many pictures of me lately.  And especially cuz Spencer was smiling for the camera when I said "Smile!"

So, from here on out are a bunch of sites, cathedrals, etc. that I don't remember what they are.  We were riding on the train and Brian tried snapping a few pictures.  I'll try naming them if I know.  I posted them mainly because I love the architecture and the depiction of the culture over here.  I'm sorry to those of my friends who have told me they love the history of the places I go. I failed miserably. But for those of you who know how much I hate the heat, my comfort to stay on the train while looking at all of these places instead of touring them won out.

Spencer didn't want his picture taken anymore.

Pretty sure this was a museum.

All these buildings were inside a courtyard across from the main church.

I thought they had some classy facades.
This is the Dom Cathedral.  "This powerful fortress-like structure dates in part from Roman times. Over the centuries it was enlarged and rebuilt several times, the most visible changes having occurred during the 12th century.  Among its treasures are the 10th-century Altar of St. Andrew, one of the greatest masterpieces of the Ottonian period. The precious Holy Robe, supposedly worn by Christ as His trial, is only shown on very rare occasions."

I'm pretty sure this is the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) "The earliest Gothic church in Germany, it was built in the form of a Greek cross during the 13th century and is noted for its elegant interior."

I'm not sure if I'm correct on this building.  But according to the map, it says this was the "Palastula"- "the only surviving part of Constantine's great imperial palace. Once the throne room of the mperor, this colossal structure from about AD 310 now sees service as a Protestant church. Part of the building is used as the Palace of the Electors, an 18th century rococo building poresently used for government office." Around the outside, they have palace gardens (one of the places I actually WAS bummed we didn't tour, but they didn't look like much when we peeked around the Palastula).

These are the Kaiserthermen (Imperial Baths).  Again, we didn't go inside, we just drove past. The next picture, however, is an online picture of what it looks like inside. 

Here's a description- "Not much of this extraordinary 4th-century structure remains above ground, but the maze of passageways below is fantastic and well worth exploring. The baths were established by the emperor Constantine and were among the largest in the entire Roman empire.  Strangely enough, they were never completed nor used for their intended purpose."

Karl Marx Haus-"Both the life of communism's prophet and the worldwide spread of socialism is traced in minute detail in this historic site.  Perhaps you can find a clue, in the memorabilia or in the house itself, as to why Marx was so tragically mistaken in his understanding of how the world works. It's worth a try." (We didn't go in so I didn't try, but I probably would have. I'm just like that.  I wonder if it's an open-ended question with no real answer.)

Taken through the window of the train.  They had windows on the right side, and none on the left. I think this was the only site that was on the right so we had to get fuzzy pictures.

What a cutie, huh? :) He was perfectly content eating his Sundried Tomato Wheat Thins while riding a train.  Look at his pink cheeks. It was seriously so hot that day.

RÖMERBRÜCKE-(Roman Bridge)-"Its stone piers were built in the 2nd century AD And still carry the weight of heavy traffic. The upper parts, originally of wood, were replaced with masonry arches during the 14th century, and again in the 18th."

"Zoll Kran" (Customs Crane... previous picture) dating from 1774, and the "Alter Kran" (old Crane... ), which goes all the way back to the 1413. Both are in excellent condition, and the latter's treadmill can be seen by peeking int he window.

After the train ride, we walked down through the Haupmarkt (the main city square walking only district).

This picture is looking back at the Porta Nigra gate from the downtown area.

The busy downtown marketplace.  And I don't think this was even a German holiday. Big touristy town.

Stone cross in the center erected in 958 as a symbol of the city's right to hold a market.

Definitely had a market going on.  It was more like a Farmer's Market.

The day called for Gelato Ice Cream. Can you tell how hot it was?


16th-century fountain

As we were walking around, Spencer wanted to run down this little restaurant hallway.  In mid-run, he saw this guy fixing outdoor tables and just parked himself to watch what he was doing.

The one place we drove past but didn't go in was the amphitheater.  It looked cool from the outside, but all covered in grass.  We decided to go park at the train station to let Spencer watch trains since he had seen the train tracks earlier and would not stop asking for it.

But if you go to Trier, the Amphitheater is probably a must. Here's what my book said about it. "Over 20,000 spectators once jammed the terraces of the oldest Roman structure in Trier to watch the gladiators fight, a form of spectacle that continued into the Christian era. Be sure to climb down the cellars under the arena, and to examine the side chambers that served as cages. Much of the stone work was exploited as a quarry during the Middle Ages, but enough remains to imagine yourself back in the 1st Century AD, when it was built."

This was definitely a fun trip.  I'm so glad we went and it was just weird not having the girls with us. But they hate touring anyway. So we're thinking of getting daytrips out of the way while they're gone to the states.


Alicia said...

Your posts never cease to amaze me. Miss you!

Raenbows and Mud Puddles said...

it is such a beautiful city.. i can't wait to go back for a longer visit! ... i love day trips! Great pictures!!

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.