Our first trip into Trier had been made without much planning. There had also been some sort of gathering around Porta Nigra, preventing us from entering. When a friend needed to pick up a rental vehicle in the city on Friday, I was happy to accompany her so I could see it up close. There are restorations going on, so construction scaffolding was a bit of a nuisance (and subtracted from what would otherwise have been some seriously beautful photos), but overall the views from within it were worth the trip. This is not one to miss.
Porta Nigra was originlly built around 160-200 AD as the North Gate, part of the city wall built around the same time. It is Latin for “Black Gate,” and is named as such due to the small organisms that stained the original white sandstone. The Roman gate eventually fell to ruin, but a hermit named Simeon took up residence there in the 11th Century, saving it from demolition. It became a church following his death, and then fell into state ownership under French rule in the 18th Century. It went from French to Prussian control in the 19th Century where it again became a city gate, and was eventually restored in the 20th Century following World War II (much of Trier was destroyed by Allied bombing, but the structure survived). I am still a bit in awe over how much history is contained within the walls of these buildings.
On our way to Porta Nigra, we also toured Saint Paulin Church. This is a Baroque church built in the early 18th Century and named after Paulinus of Trier, a 4th Century bishop. Though it doesn’t show as clearly as I’d like in the photos, the ceiling is very elaborately painted.
There are so many other things to see in Trier, including a few museums, another Cathedral, and some Roman baths (just to name a few), but I seem to lose track of time when I’m there. Luckily, it is only half an hour away. We’ll be back!