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Aula Palatina (Basilica of Constantine), Trier

The Aula Palatina (Palatinate hall), also known as the Konstantin Basilika, was built in Trier in 310 AD.

History

The long, high-ceilinged brick structure was the throne hall of the Roman emperor until the destruction of the city by Germanic tribes. The invaders built a settlement inside the roofless ruin. In the 12th century, the apse was converted into a tower to accommodate the Archbishop of Trier.

In the 17th century, the Aula Palatina was integrated into the newly-built imperial palace (Residenz) and its eastern wall was partly demolished. During Napoleonic and Prussian times, the hall served as army barracks. The Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV eventually ordered its reconstruction, and it was restored again after bomb damage in 1944.

Since 1856, the Roman basilica has served as the Protestant Church of St. Savior.

What to See

The Romans wanted the architecture to express the magnificence and might of the emperor, and the sheer size of the great basilica still impresses. The elongated, rectangular brick building is 220 feet long, 90 feet wide and 98 feet high with a vast semi-circular apse. It is the largest surviving single-room structure from Roman times.

This depth is magnified by an optical illusion - both the windows of the apse as well as the niches underneath become progressively smaller towards the middle, thus enhancing the impression of length.

Now nearly empty and austere inside, the Konstantin Basilika was originally embellished with colorful marble inlay, golden mosaics, and statues. It was made comfortable by a hollow-floor heating system. but all this splendor and technology were destroyed (in the 5th century) by the Germanic Franks,

Quick Facts on the Aula Palatina (Basilica of Constantine)

Site Information
Names:Aula Palatina; Aula Palatina (Basilica of Constantine); Aula Palatina, Trier; Konstantinbasilika
City:Trier
State:Rhineland-Palatinate
Country:Germany
Categories:Historical Sites
Faiths:Ancient Roman; Christianity; Protestant
Styles:Roman
Dates:310
Status:active
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Trier, Germany
Coordinates:49.753504° N, 6.643574° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of the Aula Palatina (Basilica of Constantine)

Below is a location map and aerial view of the Aula Palatina (Basilica of Constantine). Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.

References

  1. Personal visit (December 26, 2005).
  2. The Basilika - CityGuide Trier
  3. DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Germany (2003), 327

More Information

Article Info

Title:Aula Palatina (Basilica of Constantine), Trier
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:06/23/2009
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