Trier is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited town in Germany. We chose it as a base for several days, mostly because of its location and we found that we preferred the Mosel valley to the Rhine valley. The scenery is similar and while there is probably almost as much tourism, it's not quite so obvious. Trier is a very lively city during the day and early evening. At night it seems to quiet down rather quickly.
Trier has a couple dominant landmarks. One of those is the Dom (Cathedral) of St. Peter. The inside is well, cathedral-ish.
The cloister area is particularly nice. There is also a basilica attached to the complex although it was closed for repairs during our visit.
The other major landmark in Trier is the Porta Nigra, or Black Gate. Trier started out as the Roman city of Trevorum and there are many Roman sites scattered around town including baths and a colosseum.
There were once four gates into the walled city of Trier. Only the Black Gate remains. Supposedly the upper floors can normally be visited. On this particular day just a few weeks before German elections, there was a major campaign speech scheduled in front of it so we couldn't get much closer than this.
The Romerbrucke connected the far shore of the Mosel directly into one of Trier's four gates. Today it's the oldest bridge in Germany although it has clearly been substantially rebuilt. More accurately it's the oldest stone pillars that have been part of a bridge.
Downstream from the bridge there are two treadwheel cranes dating from the 15th and 18th centuries. They were used, as one might expect, to load and unload cargo from the river. We couldn't find much more information about them, even at the Trier tourist office.
A more dubious tourist attraction is the house Karl Marx was born in. Normally we don't bother with this sort of thing but there is a very nice wine tasting room right across the street from it. I believe we were on our second glass before we figured out why people kept wandering past and taking pictures of an otherwise unassuming house.
The center of Trier is mostly pedestrian with several impressive open plazas. We spent several hours one day in search of a decent wine shop. You would think that would be easy to find in Trier as it sits in the middle of a vast vineyard-laden region. Instead we mostly found well-hidden shopping malls and gelaterias (butter cake is yet another odd gelato flavor we don't entirely recommend). We later learned that Trier keeps all of its wine in a separate neighborhood a couple kilometers away from the center. If you're stuck in the middle of Trier and need to sample the wines, head for Karl Marx's house.
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