Sights and Sounds of Trier - Two Months of Rhine - CycleBlaze

July 9, 2022

Sights and Sounds of Trier

Why the title? I remember when we lived in Asia, CNN used to have these snippets between segments they called "the sights and sounds of xxx", where xxx was Thailand or Singapore or just "Asia". 

Trier has a lot of history. The old Roman bridge here was erected at a crossing that had been used since the Stone Age. The original Roman footings of basalt are still used, and are 1,800 yr old!

old Roman bridge
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Trier was important to the Romans for geographically strategic reasons, and they had large garrisons here. To keep those troops happy, they imported grapes from Italy to make wine, and this region has been keeping people happy ever since. This part of the Mosel is among the best known wine regions of the world - particularly for white wine, not so much for their attempts at red (Pinot Noir), which I had to sample last night for research completeness.

Remnants of the Romans are everywhere. The most famous artifact is also the icon of Trier, the Porta Nigra, or black door. This huge structure, which dominates the main drag in the Old Town was built with no mortar, just 3-6 tonne blocks that are held together by iron shackles, mostly hidden. A fact that I enjoyed but found mystifying is the Fahrradgarage (bike garage) was nestled almost underneath one corner of this monolith! Sure made it easy to find. 

the Porta Nigra
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At the other end of this main street is a large square, with typical picturesque buildings and is the site of the Christmas market.

Old Town Main Square
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But what you may not have noticed in that picture is the feature below, a well attended standup bar for wine lovers!

stand up Riesling
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We did not try it out, although it is rumoured that we may have tried out a sit down version of the same concept. A great way to people-watch. Everywhere you look these houses (and quite a few are actually residences) are pristine.

uniformly cute
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I really could add pages upon pages of these places. Unique, yet a common theme. It looked like a movie set, but went on and on.

and more!
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St George is killing the dragon on top of this fountain. There was actually a small horse trough at the bottom, but too many people around for us to bring our bikes here to wash off. We'll have to wait for a better opportunity.

St George's Fountain 1750
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And now we have one - or is it two - of the highlights. Two Unesco World Heritage sites side by side. We went into the far one in the picture below, St Peter's Cathedral (or Dom) and it was quite impressive I have to admit, and I am no lover of churches. As big as it is, it is only a fraction of the size from when it was first built in 380 AD. At that time, it covered this area (including both churches), plus the market square and a dozen houses. It was the largest church in antiquity, and could house 12,000 people. Hard to imagine. I always find myself thinking about the money and effort that went into building these churches that we see everywhere. Too bad all that effort and money didn't go into building schools and hospitals.

St Peter's Cathedral and Church of Our Lady
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Very unique looking pipe organ, with what I assume is a resonance chamber beneath it. Kind of like a sub woofer. The best organ I have ever heard was in Salzburg and was magnificent. Unfortunately you have to usually attend a service to hear them....

I wouldn't mind hearing this organ
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Marjory can look at this stuff forever, seeing details from Art History that escape me. This church was particularly well-endowed with interesting structures to capture her interest.

by this time, I am reading the news on my phone
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Trier's most famous son, Karl Marx has a monument and his home preserved here. The city wants everyone to know that his philosophy was kidnapped by dictators, and that he really only wanted to give working people a fair shake. 

home of Karl Marx
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Speaking of dictators, Trier has several enormous bath complexes from the Roman days, and a large amphitheater built in 2 AD. It housed up to 18,000 spectators. Separate entrances for dignitaries and the working class led to a unique word for the blue collar entrance gates - the vomitoriums from which the people spewed forth. I kid you not.

the amphitheatre
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You can now tour underneath it, and see how they brought the animals up to fight in a Las Vegas type arrival. Bears, lions, and tigers were popular. Well, at least with the spectators.

the subterranean works
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And finally, for dinner last night we went into the basement of our hotel (the Romantik hotel) where an ancient wine cellar has become easily the most picturesque place to dine in Trier!

ah yes, dinner
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Tomorrow, its back on the bikes and heading down (north) the Mosel to Bernkastel-Kues. A cool day is forecast with clouds. Ya, baby!

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