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Trier: Germany's Oldest City


Sailing with Viking River Cruises offers the opportunity to witness some of the most significant places in European history.

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Trier, in the Moselle River Valley, is the oldest city in Germany and home to nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Roman Monuments, the Cathedral of St. Peter, the Church of Our Lady, and the city gate of Porta Nigra.

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Before the Romans established a military camp in 50 BC, there was a Celtic tribe living in the area.

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From 17 BC to 16 BC, the Romans built a wooden bridge over the Mosel River and developed a settlement. All the basalt pillars remain of the Roman bridge. During the 2nd century AD, the Porta Nigra (city gate), Barbara Baths, the Amphitheatre and a city wall were built.

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One of the first sites we visited was the Basilica of Constantine.

Today, used as a Protestant church, the vast single-room hall was originally the throne room of Constantine the Great. The hall was built to express the magnificence and power of the emperor.

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Following our guide, we next visited the two churches next to each other. In my free time, I wander through both churches.

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The Cathedral of St. Peter is the oldest bishop's church in Germany. It was built above a Roman palace to become the largest Christian Church in the 4th century. Today's Dom, although much smaller than the Roman cathedral, still contains a Romain section with original walls. I wandered through Roman crypts, the abbey, and the treasury, admiring the artworks and architecture from more than 1,700 years ago.

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The Church of Our Lady was built on a Roman foundation in the 13th century. It is this is the oldest Gothic church in Germany. The church replaced the southern Basilica of the ancient Roman cathedral.

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Our tour continues to the market square, with its only remaining city gate, which the Romans built in about 180 AD. It is Trier's most famous landmark.

The original name is unknown; the medieval name "black gate" was given because of the black patina of the grey stones.

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The gate brought us to the end of our tour and a glimpse of the importance of this city in German history.

Viking River, Ocean, and Expedition Cruises is known for its choice of ports and included excursions. Trier is a fine example of this. Click here for more information about Viking Cruises.


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