The oldest city in Germany – Trier

One sunny January morning, Friday to be precise, we set out for a day road trip to explore the beautiful Rhineland-Palatinate state in Western Germany. The main attraction that led us there was one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. Nope, not the Neuschwanstein. Yes, the Eltz Castle! But let’s take a pause in this topic – Eltz awesomeness deserves a separate story, and we will tell you it in the near future. There is something we need to share before it. Few days ago L. introduced you to Cochem and today we’d like to present the historically significant city of Trier.

Electoral Palace (Kurfürstliches Palais). Trier.

Brief Description of Trier

Probably what’s most important about Trier is that it’s considered to be the oldest city in Germany. It was founded in the late-4th century BC by Celts. I’m not really sure who Celts are, but they immediately associate with Ireland and Vikings. As I Googled It, turns out I’m not the only dummy who thinks Celts and Vikings are similar, though they’re not. But maybe we’ll talk about this later when we’re visiting Ireland or Scandinavia.

Later Trier becomes a part of the Great Roman Empire. During this period this city was one of the largest in the Empire and had around 100 thousand inhabitants. Since then this number grew up to 120 thousand. Not much progress, IMHO. Anyway, that’s when they built the Porta Nigra, which was the main reason why we decided to go here.

Porta Nigra. Trier.

What else? M.. Then it was occupied by Franks and become a part of the Holy Roman Empire. Later it was captured by France, then by no-longer-existing Prussia.. It just gets all so confusing, but in 1818 Karl Marx was born here! For those who don’t know, he’s quite a relevant guy, because he’s the one with came up with idea of socialism1.

Finally, what’s important is that due such a diverse history the city really looks like a melting pot for a different cultures. We have never ever seen so many buildings of different architecture styles anywhere else in the whole world. Except maybe for Las Vegas.

Our visit to Trier

Our visit to Trier was our last stop of our one-day-road-trip to see the Eltz Castle. We have heard about this city before and one of our followers suggested that we must visit it. It was a wonderful suggestion, as it turned out, because we really loved the city.

First impression

The Porta Nigra & Grote Markt

Our entry to the city started to the most relevant place – the Porta Nigra. Actually, I was expecting for something more impressive, but it was okay, nonetheless. It’s impressive, because it’s old, but it’s not as impressive as the rest of the city is.

Grote Markt. Trier.

Our next stop was the Trier Grote Markt. That was when we suddenly realized that this is not just an ordinary German city, with timber frames everywhere. If you see the picture above, you will notice on the right side that the white building has arches, which seem to remind more of the Far East than Germany.

So, that’s when we got really pumped-up and started walking and guessing which culture does one building or other reminds us. We even thought, that some of them are culturally close to Africa. Though, this was probably more related to the fact that one of our friends had just announced she’s visiting Morocco soon.

The exploration

As we love to do, we just started taking random streets or follow the highest towers in the horizon. Maybe, that’s not the best way to see everything in the city, but we love this way, because we feel like it’s the one the lets you to enjoy the city the most.

St. George’s Fountain

First of all, we wondered around a lot between nice buildings until we found this fountain. Seemed like a nice fountain. Turns out, it’s Saint George’s fountain. What’s more the sculpture shows the very same dude slaying a dragon! That’s serious and very nice. I thought, it was a part of era when France ruled the city and I was right! It was built in 18th century, when Trier belonged to the French. Beautiful.

Sankt-Georgsbrunnen (Saint George’s Fountain). Trier.

The Electoral Palace

Secondly, we got to this strange building, which seemed liked it was made out of two separate one, attached to each other. Turns out it’s true. The first building we saw was the Constantine Basilica and to it was attached the Electoral Palace. The Basilica was built in Roman times and served as Roman Imperial Throne Room and then in 16th-17th century it was decided to attach this other Renaissance – Rococo building. Not sure why they decided to do this, but at least now there’s something to talk about. 

Electoral Palace (Kurfürstliches Palais). Trier.

The Cathedral of Trier

Finally, we ended at a structure containing of God-knows how many different buildings. It was the Cathedral of Trier, which non-surprisingly is THE OLDEST cathedral in Germany. And to prove the point of how diverse this Cathedral is, I will copy-paste a text from Wikipedia:

The edifice is notable for its extremely long life span under multiple different eras each contributing some elements to its design, including the center of the main chapel being made of Roman brick laid under the direction of Saint Helen, resulting in a cathedral added onto gradually rather than rebuilt in different eras.

Cathedral of Trier. Trier.

After this, we went back to the Porta Nigra, took a few more shots, found our parking space and drove home after a very long, but also a very memorable and interesting day!


I must say, that though, maybe Trier lacks well-known sites and isn’t one of the most popular tourists destinations in Germany, it definitely should be. This city is just marvelous. It has so many THE OLDEST and other ONE OF THE SOMETHINGESTS, as well as, is so diverse and represents so many eras of European history that it has to be a MUST-SEE for everyone travelling anywhere around.


  1. Later these ideas were adopted and interpreted by some guys in Russia, who came up with the Soviet Union, which is also for another time.