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  • Day297

    Day 298: Exploring Trier

    December 9, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 0 °C

    Trier itself is a World Heritage site, and the reason we'd come here. It was a very important Roman colony in the latter empire days, and a few buildings and ruins still remain, so off we went.

    There had been a bit of snowfall overnight but nothing too drastic, though it was back to being gloomy and overcast of course. Decided to walk into town since the first couple of stops were along the way. Stop number 1 was a Roman amphitheatre, not quite as well preserved as other ones we've seen in Merida, Tarragona or the Colosseum, but still quite nice. Or so I've been told, we arrived to find a sign on the gate saying it was closed due to snow and ice. Frustrating!

    Walked another 10 minutes towards town to the ruined Imperial Baths, a large bathing complex that was constructed by the emperor Constantine the Great who was said to really like Trier and stayed there quite often. Took us a while to find the entrance, and then discovered that it too was closed due to ice and snow! Going to be a great video!

    Further into town we arrived at Constantine's basilica, which thankfully wasn't closed! Despite the name, it was originally constructed as a throne room, and is the largest surviving hall from antiquity - 60 metres long and 30 metres high. There's also a cool perspective trick, where the windows aren't quite the same width, despite looking identical - it makes you think they're further away than they actually are! It's no longer a throne room, obviously, it was converted into a church in I think the 8th century.

    Next stop was the cathedral, a building that can boast the rare distinction of being partly a Roman-era Christian church. Although there's basically nothing of the original Roman structure remaining above ground, it's still a pretty cool distinction. Some lovely 10th century Romanesque architecture on the exterior as well. Interior was worth a 15 minute visit to have a look around - the holy relic here was a tunic of Christ's, though I'm always a little sceptical of these things given that I can't find socks from two months ago, let alone what I was wearing 2000 years ago!

    Shandos had found a great burger restaurant in town which we decided to have lunch at, but we walked the 10 minutes there only to discover it's probably the only place in Germany that doesn't allow dogs! Disappointed, we found another burger place but that didn't allow dogs either! What the hell?! Frustrated, we ended up having a usual bakery sandwich lunch.

    Next up was the the Porta Nigra or the black gate - a large gate in the (no longer existing) city wall that has survived since the late Roman period. It's very tall, constructed of sandstone that's all turned black from pollution over the centuries. Very cool. This, thankfully was open, so we took turns going inside and climbing to the top. Nice view, and very impressive to see the construction of enormous blocks, stacked together with no mortar (though held in place with metal clamps).

    Next stop, the Roman Bridge! Trier is on the Mosel river, and the bridge here has stood since Roman times. Just the pillar bases though, the arches and the deck are from the 19th century. It managed to survive the war because it was captured so quickly, the retreating Germans didn't have time to blow it up!

    Final stop for the day was the Barbara Baths - not sure why they're called that! The largest bath complex outside of Rome, it was of course closed due to snow and ice as well. Win some, you lose some I guess. Back home exhausted, where we cooked our pasta supplies for dinner!
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