Travels: Trier, Germany — the capital of the Byzantine Empire (June 3, 2014)



  • Konstantin-Basilika
  • Porta Nigra
  • Marketplace
  • High Cathedral of St. Peter

During our trip to Holland and Belgium, we stopped by Trier located near the border of Luxembourg. Trier is Germany’s oldest city and was founded by Augustus in 15 B.C. The Porta Nigra and the Roman ruins are evidence of the Roman habitation.

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra is the only surviving gate and once housed a monastery. Much of the sights in Trier are a mix of Renaissance, Roman, and Gothic styles. In contrast to the ornate churches of Italy and Spain, the churches in Germany are more austere and are heavily influenced by the Gothic style.


At the marketplace, you can find a Renaissance-style fountain representing the government. According to Rick Steves, the fountain has four “allegorical statues of justice (sword and scale), fortitude (broken column), temperance (wine and water), and prudence (snake and mirror)” that represent the qualities of government. You can also enjoy people watching and a stroll through the streets.

Cathedral of Trier

Of all the sights, the most important is the High Cathedral of St. Peter, a Gothic-style structure that is considered the oldest church in Germany.


It houses two important relics: the “Holy Robe” of Christ (found by St. Helena on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem) and a “holy nail” from the Crucifixion.


The Konstantin-Basilika also represents an important part of Trier’s history. This austere basilica was where Emperor Constantine and his family presided over religious matters when he occupied the city as his capital during the days of the Western Roman Empire.

Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, which houses the most complete collection of Roman art in Germany. Perhaps another day.


Steves, Rick. (2015). Historic Trier on the Mosel River. Retrieved from