Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Trier, Germany

Trier cathedral to the right, the red brick building to its left, is the Basilica of Constantine - a Roman palace basilica built by emperor Constantine, son of Helena, 306 AD.
Trier Cathedral
When I wrote the legend of the True Cross in January 2012, I thought that it would have a very limited appeal - how wrong could I be. It has remain almost constantly at the top of my Popular Posts ever since.
Imagine my delight when walking into Trier Cathedral: a Bishop's Church for 1700 years, and discovering that according to medieval tradition, Helena, a central character in the legend of the True Cross, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, donated her house to the Trier Bishop Agritius to convert it into a Bishop's church. Archaeological examinations under the church have, in fact, verified a residence below the church. Not only that but Helena is said to have given the church what is now their most precious possession - the seamless tunic of Christ, where it is held in a special Baroque sanctuary within the church.
This is my photo of their photo, so the quality is poor. 
The Holy Robe, also called the tunic of Christ was, according to legend discovered by Helena in the Holy Land in the year 327 or 328 along with several other relics, and brought to Trier by Helena.
"then the soldiers, took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top throughout, so they said to one another, let us not tear it, but let us cast lots to decide whose it shall be"
John. 19, 23 - 24
The Baroque shrine of the Holy Robe where it is encased in an air-conditioned glass case. The robe has been displayed only twice since 1933, the last time being in 1996.
The German organ made in 1974 by the renown Klais family. 
Looking down the church from the shrine shows one of the largest remaining church structures from the 4th century. However, over the years it has been severely damaged by invaders - Franks, Normans, and Vikings. The West front with its five symmetrical sections remains typical of Romanesque architecture constructed under the Salian emperors. This view shows the gothic vaulting and a Baroque stucco work vault at the end.
The Baroque stucco work
Attached to the cathedral is the Basilica of Our Lady, which dates from the same period. The high Gothic church is the third church on the site and was built by architects from Lorraine in 1227. It is the earliest Gothic church in Germany, its ground plan being a rosa mystica.
The medieval market square in Trier is said to be the oldest and one of the loveliest in Germany. The house in the collage on the left is known as the House of the Three Kings. It is Moorish in design and was originally built in 1230. You will note that it has a floating door to the right hand side which was only accessible via a retractable wood ladder for security.
Porta Negra - Black Gate
Even before the Romans came there was a settlement in this valley. It belonged to the Gallo-Celtic tribe Treveri. Julius Caesar conquered the territory in 57 BC, and so a 500 year long Roman history began. It was the capital of the Roman province of Gallia Belgica, as well as the Roman prefecture of Gaul. Within its walls it was thought to have as many as 70,000 inhabitants. The Porta Negra is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps which guarded the northern entry to the Roman city. When it was built it was a soft pink colour which has darkened over the centuries.
It was impossible to do justice to Trier during the time we spent there. We barely touched upon the Roman city of which there are many remarkable monuments to see. Trier was the first Roman city to be established north of the Alps and in fact has older foundations than Rome itself.  
exterior cathedral & market square courtesy wikipedia

30 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary:
    What an absolutely fascinating place Trier sounds to be. As always, we are entranced by the way in which you really find your way into the heart of a place, thereby igniting our own interest to visit and find out more.

    Trier Cathedral looks to be magnificent. Such glorious architecture and so many layers of history have etched themselves on the building. Clearly Trier has a rich history and fully deserves a lengthy visit. We now find ourselves with another marvellous place in Europe on our visiting list, which grows ever longer with our visits to your blog!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jane and Lance - I feel ashamed to say that I knew nothing at all about Trier before our visit. How could it be that I have spent all of my life not knowing what an important city it was - second only to Roman for its ancient artefacts and monuments? They do say that travel broadens the mind, and in this case it certainly did for us.
      I am so pleased that you found it interesting. Picking out the essence of a place, as you do so well, and hopefully not boring readers is a fine line.

      Delete
  2. Amazing buildings with such a history behind each one. Love the ceilings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Karen - the history and buildings in Trier are really exceptional, we only had time to scratch the surface.

      Delete
  3. The baroque stucco work is truly magnificent Rosemary and what looks like quite a glitzy pipe Organ on the right of the photo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Paul - I was unable to get a very good photo of the baroque stucco work, but it was extremely elaborate. You have very sharp eyes to have been able to notice that the organ was so glitzy, and because of your interest I have included a photo of it for you. The Klais family of organ makers have been in existence since 1882, and have made organs for many of the great cathedrals and concert halls around the world, including St. John's, Smith Square, Bath Abbey, and the Symphony Hall - Birmingham.

      Delete
    2. I spent quite a while peering at your enlarged pictures and the faberge-like pipe organ certainly caught my magpie's eye. It really is a gorgeous piece of craftsmanship. I am so happy you posted the photo Rosemary, thank you. Is it unusual to have a large decorative clock within a church or cathedral rather than outside?

      Delete
    3. I should say that it is very unusual to have a clock inside the church, especially as it is incorporated into the baroque stucco work.

      Delete
  4. Hi Rosemary! I think there's not a city in the world you can't make sound interesting to visit. Why do I say that? Well, Trier was 'not worth visiting' was what my husband told me recently. Actually, the cities you have mentioned so far are all cities my husband passed through or by on a recent biketrip he made. I'm always so curious to know about where he has been and so I made him take a small camera on his last two tours but he's just not so interested in taking photos or even visiting anything or wanting to know more about the places he passes. So far, he has taken almost no pictures at all on his trips. It's all just about the biking for him. I have to admit, I'm sometimes jealous of always having to be the one staying home but then again someone has to be here for the kids, especially during school time but even now, I can't just pack my bags and leave, and also, I wouldn't be the person to go on a trip all by myself, no, I need company ;-) Oh well, I hope sometime in the future, my husband will be leaving his bike home and he'll want to visit cities and more together with me. I actually have been reading up on the Languedoc area and the castles and remains of the Cathars. Also, there must be such pretty villages in the mountains there. That's where he'll be biking in august for 7 days. Hope he takes some pictures this time ;-) This time I really wished I could go too. But I just get to drive him and his bike to the station in Lille early in the morning on the day of his departure.... I do wish him a good trip of course and a safe voyage. Oh yes, I'm always worried as well, must be the mom in me I guess.
    So, thanks for the beautiful pictures of Trier, it's not as dark and uninteresting my husband made it sound ;-) It actually looks bright and very interesting. I had no idea the seamless Robe of Christ was in Trier, I always thought it was somewhere in Italy, weird heh? Learned something again today thanks to you.
    Bye,
    Marian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Marian - I wish I could pop you in my bag, and then I could have shown you the sights. I expect that your husband has one thing on his mind, and that is the cycling. Realistically if cycling is where his interests lie, then he is not going to be looking at the architecture and history.
      With a bit of luck, and by the time your children are grown up, as mine are, you will be able to do the things that most interest you. Hopefully your husband will be happy to put his cycling days behind him and join you.

      Delete
  5. Trier's history sound fascinating and the photos of it look so very interesting.
    Once again you have captured me with your travels.
    I have never been to Germany. well only to Freibourg..then on to Lucern.
    Truly Europe has such a wealth of History.
    Very interesting Rosemary. I liked my trip to Trier's..who knows maybe one day. But my list has a few more places before it.
    happy wednesday
    val

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Val - I consider that we are very fortunate to have so much history on our doorsteps. Every country in Europe has an amazing collection of wonderful buildings with so much history connected to them. Glad you enjoyed the trip to Trier, a wonderful and extremely historical city.

      Delete
  6. I particularly like the exterior architecture of this cathedral. Today it seems to blend well with the older basilica, but I can imagine that if it were being built today, there would be an outcry over its dwarfing and altering the environment of the historical basilica.
    --Road to Parnassus

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I very much regret that we did not have time to visit Constantine's Roman palace basilica, which is a very large red brick building with two tiers of huge arched windows, and considered to be the most splendid one in the world.

      Delete
  7. Dear Rosemary, Have been to Trier several times. Knew that it was a very old city but did not spend much time there. Again, thank you for the excellent history lesson and beautiful photographs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Gina - I really need to revisit Trier sometime as we hardly scratched the surface of this intriguing city - both its history and its wonderful buildings.

      Delete
  8. Dear Rosemary,

    I am vicariously enjoying your trip and all the siights/sites! I am curious to know about the coat of arms in the Baroque basilica. Do you know what that represents? even looking the length of the cathedral, it stands out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Mark - this is the end of the Germany journey.
      What a difficult question you have posed for me!!! I have now put a close up photograph of the coat of arms on the post so that it is clearer.
      I know that the red cross is the flag of the city of Trier, and the lamb of God is shown presumably because it is a Bishop's church of great significance and importance.
      The blue and white stripes -sorry I do not have any idea what they represent.
      However, this is conjecture on my part.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the close-up, Rosemary. I would guess — since a miter is just above the crest — that this is the residing bishop's coat of arms. I'm also guessing, and this is just a hunch, that the crown next to the miter indicates that the bishop who presided over the building of the basilica was also a prince or duke. Sounds pretty powerful!

      Delete
    3. I am not very knowledgable on coats of arms. I did do church recording at one time for the Fine Art Society that I belong to, and started trying to read coats of arms on church memorials, but handed the job over to somebody else in our society who was much keener than me.

      Delete
  9. Dear Rosemary
    Another wonderful post. It shows the city of Trier impressive with so much history and many buildings that show the greatness of the past. The last collage is a wonderful modern painting !
    Have a wonderful month .
    Olympia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Olympia - you are right about Trier's impressive history and wonderful buildings. Glad you enjoyed the last photo of the vines on the Moselle slopes, it could be a piece of modern art.

      Delete
  10. We are going there in two weeks time, I can't wait. Great impressions.

    Greetings,
    Filip

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Filip - I do hope that you have a wonderful time in Trier. Do try to get inside the magnificent Basilica of Constantine, it is a marvel of Roman engineering building work.

      Delete
  11. I think we share the same addiction, Rosemary - looking & learning! An interesting post as usual, and a visual feast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The older I get the more there seems to be seen, but the time in which to see it all is getting shorter. I am really pleased that you found it interesting.

      Delete
  12. What a wonderful tour through close to 2000 years of architecture and history, Rosemary! As always, beautifully illustrated and stuffed with fascinating facts. You certainly know how to capture our interest. One of the things which I find fascinating is how much the urban architecture reminds me of Prague. Definitely another city on my must-visit list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Perpetua - thank you for your generous comment. My enthusiasm at discovering so many things of interest in Trier, particularly in connection with Helena is probably evident.

      Delete
  13. It was so much fun looking at all your beautiful photos – the great colorful collage of flowers, the beautiful tablecloth embroidered by your mother and the green fields in the circular collage. You do post lovely photographs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is very kind of you, and so pleased that you enjoyed your visit to the various posts. You may be interested to know that the green fields in the circular collage are the vineyards of the Moselle Valley.

      Delete

❖PLEASE NOTE❖ Comments made by those who hide their identity will be deleted

“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them sometimes”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh