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06 September 2008 @ 02:54 pm
Day Trip to Trier  
I've just been on a trip to a workshop at Schloss Dagstuhl in Germany about which I shall no doubt blog in due course. On Wednesday afternoon, when it was pouring with rain and my head was full of cold we went on a day trip to Trier and had a guided tour of the city. To be honest, in retrospect, I should really have stayed behind and gone to bed but that sort of thing is easy to say in retrospect.

This is the Porta Nigra the ancient Roman gateway to Trier. Trier claims to be the oldest city in Germany, founded around 16 BC. The gateway survived the stone pillaging of the middle ages because it was inhabited by a hermit, later to become St. Simeon and, after his death, it was converted into a church. The guide showed an amazing painting of the Church. All the lower archways of the gate were filled in and wide steps had been built leading up to the first floor which was the ground floor of the church. All the medieval additions were removed by Napolean when he conquered the city in 1794.

This is a detail from one of the buildings in Trier's marketplace. Built at a time when there was considerable conflict between the citezans and Trier's prince bishop, the guards on the building look towards the marketplace and the Cathedral. The one looking towards the Cathedral has his visor lowered so distasteful does he find the sight.

The Cathedral with the Church of Our Lady just visible on the right. I didn't quite get the time line but the Cathedral and the Church were either established by, or greatly, enhanced by the Emperor Constantine who made Trier the capital of his part of the empire.

This is a detail from the doorway of the Church of Our Lady. The statues are, apparently, casts of the originals which are in Trier's museum. Among other things they are illustrating the medieval anti-semitic world-view. The lower tier of figures beside and above the arch represent the Jewish characters from the bible, while the higher tier represent figures from the New Testament representing their ascendancy over the Jewish tradition. Meanwhile on the far left of the door you have a blind-folded figure holding a broken sceptre representing the Jewish people who were once supreme but were blind to the truth of Jesus.

This is an exterior window of Constantine's Basilica, later used as the residence of the Archbishop of Trier, and now the city's Protestant Church. Th window is supposed to be a replica in the roman style. Originally the building was covering in white plaster with red plasterwork round the windows - you can just see some of this on the inside of the arch.

A larger view of the exterior of the Roman Basilica, this time showing part of the 17th century extension built by the Prince Bishop when he decided that the Basilica was too small a residence.

Tsixgun45lc on September 8th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
*is jealous*

One thing I find sadly lacking here in the States is the sense of history that you can actually touch. That first building, the Porta Nigra, is awesome. great pics. Thanks for sharing them.
louisedennislouisedennis on September 10th, 2008 11:16 am (UTC)
Trier is something a bit special, even in Europe, the way one historical period after another is sort piled up in a small space is amazing.