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Trier, Germany

Towers of the Romanesque cathedral and Gothic Church of Our Lady in Trier. Photo © Sacred Destinations.

Trier is a historic city in west central Germany, just six miles from the Luxembourg border and 120 miles SW of Frankfurt. Trier makes a manageable, and very worthwhile, day trip from Cologne or Frankfurt. Trier is Germany's oldest city. Legend has it that in 2000 BC the Assyrians established a colony here. The Roman colony of Augusta Treverorum (Trier) was founded by Augustus in 16 BC. Trier became a favored residence of several Roman emperors, including Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor. The cathedral Constantine built in Trier in 326 AD is Germany's oldest. After destruction by Germanic tribes in the 5th century, the great city of Trier became a small town. It still feels pleasantly small today, despite its population of 100,000. Trier's market square (Hauptmarkt) is one of the nicest in Germany, filled with fruit stands, flowers, painted facades, and fountains. Catholic pilgrims still come to Trier in large numbers to honor the relic of the Holy Robe at the Dom St. Peter and the tomb of St. Matthias in the Benedictine church named for him.

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Sacred Sites and Religious Attractions in Trier

  • Aula Palatina (Basilica of Constantine)
    Built in 310, this huge brick structure was the throne hall of Constantine and other Roman emperors. Today it is used as a Protestant church.
  • Trier Cathedral
    Originally built by Constantine, this is the oldest church in Germany. It houses an array of artworks and a holy relic that still receives many pilgrims: the Holy Robe of Christ.
  • Liebfrauenkirche
    This pretty 13th-century parish church was one of the first Gothic churches built in Germany. It stands right next door to the cathedral.
  • Porta Nigra
    The impressive "Black Gate" sight is a 2nd-century Roman city gate. It owes its survival to its use by a revered hermit monk and subsequent transformation into a two-story church.
  • St. Matthias Abbey
    This fine 12th-century church, part of an active Benedictine abbey, houses the relics of St. Matthias, the apostle who was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. It is still visited by many pilgrims.