Trier - Visit the Oldest City in Germany

Roman Times in Trier

Porta Nigra Gate, Trier
Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

On the banks of the Moselle River lies Trier, Germany's oldest city. It was founded as a Roman colony in 16 B.C. by Emperor Augustus.

Trier - The Second Rome

Trier became the favored residence of several Roman emperors and was even called "Roma Secunda", the second Rome. Nowhere else in Germany is the evidence of Roman times as vivid as it is in Trier.

Trier – What to Do

Porta Nigra

The highlight of Trier is the Porta Nigra (“black gate”), or you can simply act like the locals and call it "Porta".

Today, this is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. The Porta Nigra dates back to 180 A.D. and is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. The gate looks much the as it did when it was built, besides the inevitable wear of decades and a reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. Visitors can walk where the Romans did and take guided tours from a centurion in summer.

  • Address: Porta-Nigra-Platz, 54290 Trier
  • Admission: Free
  • Opened: 200 AD

Cathedral of Trier

The High Cathedral of Saint Peter in Trier (Hohe Domkirche St. Peter zu Trier) was originally built by Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman Emperor. Fitting of the oldest city, it is the oldest church in Germany. The Cathedral of Trier houses great works of art and a holy relic that draws many pilgrims: the Holy Robe, the garment said to be worn by Jesus when he was crucified. Since 1986 it h been listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage attractions in Trier.


  • Address: Liebfrauenstraße 12, 54290 Trier
  • Admission: Free
  • Opened: 1270


Imperial Baths

Baths were an important part of Roman life and this tradition has extended into German life. Visit the ruins of one of the grandest Roman baths of its time. The Kaisertherme was built 1600 years ago, complete with an underground water heating system.

(Want to experience the modern German sauna? Try these nearby spas.)

  • Address: Weberbach 41, 54290 Trier
  • Admission: 4 euro
  • Opened: circa 300

Main Market of Trier

The Main Market (Hauptmarkt) was the heart of medieval Trier. It is home to picturesque half-timbered houses, the city church, the cathedral, a medieval fountain and the Jewish quarter of Trier. A centerpiece is the Market Fountain from 1595 of St. Peter surrounded by the four cardinal virtues of good city government: Justice, Strength, Temperance, and Wisdom as well as monsters and - oddly - monkeys. Also take note of the replica of the original stone cross that dates back to 958 and is now in the City Museum.

  • Address: Hauptmarkt, 54290 Trier
  • Admission: Free
  • Opened: circa 882 

Karl Marx House

Visit the birthplace of Karl Marx, who was born in Trier in 1818; the house is now a museum, displaying rare editions of Marx’s writings.

  • Address: Brückenstraße 10, 54290 Trier
  • Admission: 4 euro 
  • Opened: 1727

The House of the Three Magi

Dreikönigenhaus, or The House of the Three Magi, showcases a fanciful Moorish design that stands out from its sober neighbors. ing architecture. It has undergone many changes throughout the ages, but still provides some unusual eye candy and a café on the ground floor.

  • Address: Simeonstraße 19, 54290 Trier
  • Admission: 4 euro 
  • Opened: 1230

Archaeological Museum

The Rheinisches Landesmuseum (RLM) offers some of Trier’s most impressive Roman artifacts and artworks from the region.

  • Address:  Weimarer Allee 1, 54290 Trier
  • Admission: 4 euro 
  • Opened: 1230


Trier Travel Tips

Trier is also on our list Germany's Top 10 Cities - Best Spots for City Breaks in Germany.