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Klaus Jensen (SPD)

117.14 km2

Urban district

Trier in the past, History of Trier

Colleges and Universities
University of Trier, Trier University of Applied Sciences

Points of interest
Porta Nigra, Karl Marx House, Cathedral of Trier, Aula Palatina, St Paulinus Church - Trier

Map of Trier

Trier ( [tʁiːɐ̯]; Luxembourgish: Tréier [ˈtʀɜɪɐ]), formerly known in English as Treves (French: Trèves, [tʁɛv]) and Triers (see also names in other languages), is a city in Germany on the banks of the Moselle. Trier lies in a valley between low vine-covered hills of red sandstone in the west of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, near the border with Luxembourg and within the important Moselle wine region.


Trier in the past, History of Trier

Founded by the Celts in the late-4th century BC as Treuorum, it was later conquered by the Romans in the late-1st century BC and renamed Trevorum or Augusta Treverorum (Latin for "The City of Augustus among the Treveri"). Trier may be the oldest city in Germany. It is also the oldest seat of a bishop north of the Alps. In the Middle Ages, the Archbishop-Elector of Trier was an important prince of the church, as the archbishop-electorate controlled land from the French border to the Rhine. The Archbishop-Elector also had great significance as one of the seven electors of the Holy Roman Empire.

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With an approximate population of 105,000, Trier is the fourth-largest city in its state, after Mainz, Ludwigshafen, and Koblenz. The nearest major cities are Luxembourg (50 km or 31 mi to the southwest), Saarbrücken (80 kilometres or 50 miles southeast), and Koblenz (100 km or 62 mi northeast).

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, and the Academy of European Law (ERA) are all based in 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 is central to the greater region encompassing Saar-Lor-Lux (Saarland, Lorraine and Luxembourg), Rhineland-Palatinate, and Wallonia.

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The first traces of human settlement in the area of the city show evidence of linear pottery settlements dating from the early Neolithic period. Since the last pre-Christian centuries, members of the Celtic tribe of the Treveri settled in the area of today's Trier. The city of Trier derives its name from the later Latin locative in Trēverīs for earlier Augusta Treverorum.

The historical record describes the Roman Empire subduing the Treveri in the 1st century BC and establishing Augusta Treverorum in 16 BC. The name distinguished it from the empire's many other cities honoring the first emperor Augustus. The city later became the capital of the province of Belgic Gaul; after the Diocletian Reforms, it became the capital of the prefecture of the Gauls, overseeing much of the Western Roman Empire. In the 4th century, Trier was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire with a population around 75,000 and perhaps as much as 100,000. The Porta Nigra ("Black Gate") dates from this era. A residence of the Western Roman Emperor, Roman Trier was the birthplace of Saint Ambrose. Sometime between 395 and 418, probably in 407 the Roman administration moved the staff of the Praetorian Prefecture about 2000 from the city to Arles. The city continued to be inhabited but was not as prosperous as before. However, it remained the seat of a governor and had state factories for the production of ballistae and armor and woolen uniforms for the troops, clothing for the civil service, and high-quality garments for the Court. Northern Gaul was held by the Romans along a line from north of Cologne to the coast at Boulogne through what is today southern Belgium until 460. South of this line, Roman control was firm, as evidenced by the continuing operation of the imperial arms factory at Amiens.

The Franks seized Trier from Roman administration in 459. 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. The German philosopher and one of the founders of Marxism, 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.

In June 1940 over 60,000 British prisoners of war, captured at Dunkirk and Northern France, were marched to Trier, which became a staging post for British soldiers headed for German prisoner-of-war camps. 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 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 plateau in the south and the Eifel in the north. The border with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is some 15 km (9 mi) away.

Neighbouring municipalities

Listed in clockwise order, beginning with the northernmost; all municipalities belong to the Trier-Saarburg district

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, Zemmer (all in the Verbandsgemeinde Trier-Land)

Organization of city districts

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 (December 31, 2009):

Main sights

Trier is known for its well-preserved Roman and medieval buildings, which include:

  • the Porta Nigra, the best-preserved Roman city gate north of the Alps;
  • ruins of three Roman baths, among them the largest Roman baths north of the Alps; including the Barbara Baths and the Trier Imperial Baths;
  • the huge Constantine Basilica, a basilica in the original Roman sense, was the 67 m (219.82 ft) long throne hall of Roman Emperor Constantine; it is today used as a Protestant church.
  • Trier Cathedral (German: Trierer Dom or Dom St. Peter), a Roman Catholic church that dates back to Roman times and is home to the Holy Tunic, a garment with a recorded history back to the 12th century, in Catholic tradition said to be the robe Jesus was wearing when he died. It is exhibited only every few decades, at irregular intervals.
  • The Liebfrauenkirche (German for Church of Our dear Lady), which is one of the most important early Gothic cathedrals in Germany and falls into the architectural tradition of the French Gothic cathedrals;
  • the Roman Trier Amphitheater;
  • the 2nd century AD Roman bridge (Römerbrücke) across the Moselle, the oldest bridge north of the Alps still crossed by traffic;
  • St. Matthias' Abbey (Abtei St. Matthias), a still-in-use monastery in whose medieval church the only apostle north of the Alps is held to be buried
  • St. Gangolf's church was the city's market church that rivalled the Archbishop's Trier Cathedral.
  • Saint Paulinus' Church, one of the most important Baroque churches in Rhineland-Palatinate and designed in part by the architect Balthasar Neumann
  • two old treadwheel cranes, one being the Gothic "Old Crane" (Alte Krahnen) or "Trier Moselle Crane" (Trierer Moselkrahn) from 1413, and the other the 1774 Baroque crane called the "(Old) Customs Crane" ((Alter) Zollkran) or "Younger Moselle Crane" (Jüngerer Moselkran) (see List of historical harbour cranes)
  • Museums

  • Rheinisches Landesmuseum (one of the two most important German archaeological museums for the Roman period, along with the Römisch-Germanisches Museum in Cologne)
  • Stadtmuseum Simeonstift (history of Trier, displaying among other exhibits a model of the medieval city)
  • Bischöfliches Dom- und Diözesanmuseum (Museum of the Diocese of Trier, displays also numerous Roman artefacts)
  • Toy Museum of Trier
  • Ethnological and open-air museum Roscheider Hof, a museum in the neighbouring town of Konz, right at the city limits of Trier, which shows the history of rural culture in the northwest Rhineland Palatinate and in the area where Germany, Luxembourg and Lorraine meet.
  • Fell Exhibition Slate Mine; site in the municipality of Fell, 20 km (12 mi) from Trier, containing an underground mine, a mine museum, and a slate mining trail.
  • Karl Marx House; a museum exhibiting Marx's personal history, volumes of poetry, original letters, and photographs with personal dedications. There is also a collection of rare first editions and international editions of his works, as well as exhibits on the development of socialism in the 19th century.
  • Education

    Trier is home to the University of Trier, founded in 1473, closed in 1796 and restarted in 1970. The city also has the Trier University of Applied Sciences. The Academy of European Law (ERA) was established in 1992 and provides training in European law to legal practitioners. In 2010 there were about 40 Kindergärten, 25 primary schools and 23 secondary schools in Trier, such as the Humboldt Gymnasium Trier, Max Planck Gymnasium, Auguste Viktoria Gymnasium and the Nelson-Mandela Realschule Plus, Kurfürst-Balduin Realschule Plus, Realschule Plus Ehrang.

    Annual events

  • Until 2014, Trier was home to Germany's largest Roman festival, Brot und Spiele (German for Bread and Games - a translation of the famous Latin phrase panem et circenses from the satires of Juvenal)
  • Trier has been the base for the German round of the World Rally Championship since 2000, with the rally's presentation held next to the Porta Nigra.
  • Trier holds a lavish Christmas street festival every year called the Trier Christmas Market on the Hauptmarkt (Main Market Square) and the Domfreihof in front of the Cathedral of Trier.
  • Transportation

    Trier station has direct railway connections to many cities in the region. The nearest cities by train are Cologne, Saarbrücken and Luxembourg. Via the motorways A 1, A 48 and A 64 Trier is linked with Koblenz, Saarbrücken and Luxembourg. The nearest commercial (international) airports are in Luxembourg (0:40 h by car), Frankfurt-Hahn (1:00 h), Saarbrücken (1:00 h), Frankfurt (2:00 h) and Cologne/Bonn (2:00 h). The Moselle River is an important waterway and is also used for river cruises. A new passenger railway service on the western side of the River Mosel is scheduled to open in December 2018.


    Major sports clubs in Trier include:

  • FSV Trier-Tarforst, intera alia football and rugby
  • SV Eintracht Trier 05, association football
  • TBB Trier, basketball
  • DJK/MJC Trier, women's team handball
  • Trier Cardinals, baseball
  • PST Trier Stampers, American Football
  • Renn Center, Trier, Slotcar
  • Notable residents

    See Heinz Monz: Trierer Biographisches Lexikon. Landesarchivverwaltung Rheinland-Pfalz, Koblenz 2000. 539 p. ISBN 3-931014-49-5.

  • Eucharius (died ~250), first bishop of Trier
  • Valerius (died 320), second bishop of Trier
  • St Athanasius (In exile ca. 335)
  • Helena (ca. 250-330), saint, mother of Constantine the Great
  • Paulinus (died 358), bishop of Trier
  • Valentinian I (321–375), Roman emperor
  • Ausonius (ca. 310–395), Roman consul and poet
  • Ambrose (ca. 340–397), saint
  • Kaspar Olevianus (1536–1587), theologian
  • Jenny Marx née von Westphalen, revolutionary, drama critic, wife of Karl Marx, mother of Jenny Longuet, Laura Marx and Eleanor Marx
  • Karl Marx (1818–1883), German social philosopher and revolutionary
  • August Beer (1825-1863), scientist
  • Frederick A. Schroeder (1833–1899), American politician, mayor of Brooklyn
  • Ludwig Kaas (1881–1952), Roman Catholic priest and politician of the Zentrum
  • Oswald von Nell-Breuning (1890–1991), German theologian
  • Reinhard Heß (1904-1998), painter and glass painter
  • Wolf Graf von Baudissin (1907–1993), German general, military planner and peace researcher
  • Peter Thullen (1907-1996), German-Ecuadorian mathematician
  • Gitta Lind (1925-1974), singer (e.g., "White Elder")
  • Ernst Huberty (born 1927), sports reporter ("Mister Sportschau")
  • Günther Steines (1928-1982), athlete
  • Franz Grundheber (born 1937), baritone
  • Günther Geiermann (born 1939), actor
  • Otmar Seul (born 1943), lawyer, professor
  • Helga Zepp-LaRouche (born 1948), journalist and politician
  • Xavier Bout de Marnhac (born 1951), French general, former commander of KFOR
  • Robert Zimmer (philosopher) (born 1953), German philosopher and essayist
  • Ernst Ulrich Deuker (born 1954), musician of Ideal
  • François Weigel (born 1964), French pianist, composer and conductor
  • Eric Jelen (born 1965), tennis player
  • Martin Bambauer (born 1970), church musician
  • Frank Findeiß (born 1971), poet
  • International relations

    Trier is a fellow member of the QuattroPole union of cities, along with Luxembourg, Saarbrücken, and Metz (neighbouring countries: Luxembourg and France).


    Trier is twinned with:


  • New Trier Township, Illinois, USA, originally settled by people from Trier.
  • New Trier, Minnesota, USA, settled by people from Trier about 1856.
  • New Trier High School, an Illinois school named after Trier.
  • References

    Trier Wikipedia

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