Day 9 – the oldest town in Germany!

The Porta Nigra (the black gate)

The Porta Nigra (the black gate)

The morning dawned misty, but promised a fine day. We left on the buses for a short trip to the city of Trier, touted as the oldest city in Germany. Read the history here. It was a Roman city, set up as a sort of Western European capital. There’s not a lot left of the Roman city after all this time, but archaeologists have found three Roman baths which we drove past on the bus (unfortunately). Roman pride of place is the Porta Nigra, the one remaining city gate. I was surprised to learn the Vikings raided Trier. They must have come up the Rhine, then the Moselle. They sacked the city in 882, putting most of the inhabitants to the sword, and burning the churches and abbeys. As it happens, the Roman city gate only survived because in 1028 a Christian hermit took up residence in the ruin. He was mates with the local bishop, and when the hermit died, the gate was turned into two Christian churches involving lots of earth works which would have helped preserve the place. Before that, the stone from the Roman fortifications was used to construct new buildings. There’s a rather fine cathedral with Roman elements, and a baroque church next door. It was Napoleon who ordered that the gate be returned to its Roman state. Good ole Nappy.

Cathedral and church

Cathedral and church. Note the roman arches with Moorish styling

As usual, the town has a colourful market in the city square. A Moorish influence can be seen, a result of people returning from the Crusades.

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Note the Moorish influence in the decoration here

Note the Moorish influence in the decoration here

On the way back to the ship, clouds had gathered, the kind of cumulo-nimbus we see so often at home. The rain was quite heavy, but when the bus arrived at a place giving spectacular views over the Moselle valley the rain lifted, and we were treated to a fabulous photo opportunity.

The Moselle valley in the rain. The sunlit version is on the previous post.

The Moselle valley in the rain. The sunlit version is on the previous post.

Later today we’ll be sailing back to the Rhine.