Among the city's Roman monuments are the Porta Nigra (early 4th cent.), an imposing and well-preserved fortified gate; an amphitheater (c.100), which can seat about 25,000 persons; ruins of the imperial baths (4th cent.); and the basilica (probably built in the early 4th cent.; now a church). Trier also has a Romanesque cathedral, built (11th-12th cent.) around a 4th-century nucleus and containing the Holy Coat of Treves (supposed to be the seamless coat of Jesus). Other noteworthy buildings include the Gothic Church of Our Lady (13th cent.; Ger. Liebfrauenkirche); the baroque electoral palace (17th-18th cent.); and the baroque Church of St. Paulinus (1732-54; designed by B. Neumann). The rare exhibitions (e.g., in 1844, 1891, 1933, and 1959) of the Holy Coat of Treves have been the occasions of large pilgrimages. The remains of St. Matthew are preserved in a shrine in the pilgrimage church of St. Matthew (built in the 12th cent. around an earlier Benedictine monastery). Trier also has a theological seminary, a school of viticulture, and several museums, including one in the house where Karl Marx was born (1818).
One of the oldest cities in Germany, Trier has played an important role in its history since Roman times and retains many Roman monuments. Founded by Augustus c.15 B.C., the city was made (1st cent.) the capital of the Roman province of Belgica and later became (3d cent.) the capital of the prefecture of Gaul; it was named after the Treveri, a people of E Gaul. Under the Roman Empire Trier attained a population of c.50,000 and became a major commercial center, with a large wine trade. It was a frequent residence of the Western emperors from c.295 until its capture (early 5th cent.) by the Franks.
The city was made an episcopal see in the 4th cent. and an archiepiscopal see c.815. Under the rule of the archbishops, Trier flourished as a commercial and cultural center. Trier was the seat of a university from 1473 until it was occupied by the French in 1797. The archbishopric of Trier was secularized and was formally ceded to France in 1801 by the Treaty of Lunéville. At the Congress of Vienna the city and most of the archbishopric were awarded (1815) to Prussia; territory E of the Rhine was given to Nassau and, with Nassau, passed to Prussia in 1866. Trier again became an episcopal see in 1821. It was occupied by France after World War I and suffered considerable damage in World War II.
Trier lies in a valley between low vine-covered hills of ruddy sandstone in the west of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, near the German border with Luxembourg and within the important Mosel wine-growing region.
Trier is the oldest seat of a Christian bishop north of the Alps. In the Middle Ages, the Archbishop of Trier was an important ecclesiastical prince, as the Archbishopric of Trier controlled land from the French border to the Rhine. He was also one of the seven electors of the Holy Roman Empire.
With an approximate population of 100,000, Trier was until 2005 ranked fourth alongside Kaiserslautern among the state's largest cities, after Mainz, Ludwigshafen am Rhein and Koblenz. The nearest large cities in Germany are Saarbrücken, some 80 km southeast, and Koblenz, about 100 km northeast. The closest city to Trier is the capital of Luxembourg, some 50 km to the southwest.
Trier is home to the University of Trier, the administration of the Trier-Saarburg district and the seat of the ADD (Aufsichts- und Dienstleistungsdirektion), which until 1999 was the borough authority of Trier. It is one of the five "central places" of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Along with Luxembourg, Metz and Saarbrücken, fellow constituent members of the QuattroPole union of cities, it also forms a central place of the greater region encompassing Saar-Lor-Lux (Saarland, Lorraine and Luxembourg), Rhineland-Palatinate and Wallonia.
Trier sits in a hollow midway along the Moselle valley, with the most significant portion of the city on the east bank of the river. Wooded and vineyard-covered slopes stretch up to the Hunsrück plateaux in the South and the Eifel in the North. The border with the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg is some 15 km distant.
Schweich, Kenn and Longuich (all part of the Verbandsgemeinde Schweich an der Römischen Weinstraße), Mertesdorf, Kasel, Waldrach, Morscheid, Korlingen, Gutweiler, Sommerau and Gusterath (all in the Verbandsgemeinde Ruwer), Hockweiler, Franzenheim (both part of the Verbandsgemeinde Trier-Land), Konz (Verbandsgemeinde Konz), Igel, Trierweiler, Aach, Newel, Kordel (Eifel), Zemmer (all in the Verbandsgemeinde Trier-Land)
The Trier urban area is divided into 19 city districts. For each district there is an Ortsbeirat (local council) of between 9 and 15 members, as well as an Ortsvorsteher (local representative). The local councils are charged with hearing the important issues that affect the district, although the final decision on any issue rests with the city council. The local councils nevertheless have the freedom to undertake limited measures within the bounds of their districts and their budgets.
The districts of Trier with area and inhabitants (July 2007):
|Official district number||District with associated sub-districts||Area in km²||Inhabitants|
|12||Nord (Nells Ländchen, Maximin)||3.769||14,256|
|13||Süd (St. Barbara, St. Matthias or St. Mattheis)||1.722||9,409|
|42||Kürenz (Alt-Kürenz, Neu-Kürenz)||5.825||8,578|
|52||Heiligkreuz (Alt-Heiligkreuz, Neu-Heiligkreuz, St. Maternus)||2.036||6,766|
|53||Mariahof (St. Michael)||7.040||3,212|
According to the Gesta Treverorum, the city was founded by Trebeta, an Assyrian prince, centuries before ancient Rome. The Roman Empire subdued the Treveri in the 1st century BC and established Augusta Treverorum (Lit: August (Regal, noble) [City] of the Treveri) in 30 BC. The city later became the capital of the Roman province of Gallia Belgica, as well as the Roman prefecture of Gaul. The Porta Nigra counts among the Roman architecture of the city. A residence of the Western Roman Emperor, Roman Trier was the birthplace of Saint Ambrose.
The Franks occupied Trier from the Roman administration in 459 AD. In 870 it became part of Eastern Francia, which developed into the Holy Roman Empire. Relics of Saint Matthias brought to the city initiated widespread pilgrimages. The bishops of the city grew increasingly powerful, and the Archbishopric of Trier was recognized as an electorate of the empire, one of the most powerful states of Germany. The University of Trier was founded in the city in 1473.
In the 17th century, the Archbishops and Prince-Electors of Trier relocated their residences to Philippsburg Castle in Ehrenbreitstein, near Koblenz. A session of the Reichstag was held in Trier in 1512, during which the demarcation of the Imperial Circles was definitively established.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, Trier was sought after by France, who invaded during the Thirty Years' War, the War of the Grand Alliance, the War of the Spanish Succession, and the War of the Polish Succession. France succeeded in finally claiming Trier in 1794 during the French Revolutionary Wars, and the electoral archbishopric was dissolved. After the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815, Trier passed to the Kingdom of Prussia. Karl Marx was born in the city in 1818.
As part of the Prussian Rhineland, Trier developed economically during the 19th century. The city rose in revolt during the revolutions of 1848 in the German states, although the rebels were forced to concede. It became part of the German Empire in 1871.
Trier was heavily bombed and bombarded in 1944 during World War II. The city became part of the new state of Rhineland-Palatinate after the war. The university, dissolved in 1797, was restarted in the 1970s, while the Cathedral of Trier was reopened in 1974. Trier officially celebrated its 2,000th anniversary in 1984.
Trier is home to the University of Trier, founded in 1483, closed in 1796 and restarted in 1970. The city also has the Trier University of Applied Sciences. There are various Kindergärten, primary schools and secondary schools in Trier, such as the Hindenburg Gymnasium Trier, Max Plank Gymnasium and the Pestalozzi-Hauptschule.