The rise of Trier

Trier – once a global city

Did you know that half the Roman Empire was once ruled from Trier? The emperor ruled an area stretching from Scotland to Morocco, all while residing in Trier.

Under Emperor Augustus, the first bridge over the Mosel was built in the Trier valley around 17/18 BC, and with it, a new metropolis: Augusta Treverorum. Its symmetrical street grid, the new city centre (forum) and the building in squares were all designed in accordance with a standardised scheme that was applied to all newly-founded Roman cities. There were also models for architecture and art.

In the second century, Trier rose to become the administrative seat of the province of Gallia Belgica and received the highest city privileges. The metropolis went on to become a major supraregional economic centre that resonated far and wide. The Porta Nigra also originates from this century. It was one of five gates in a huge city fortification that covered an area of 285 hectares. This represented more urban area than that of the ancient cities of Cologne, Mainz and Metz put together, and it was never fully built upon. Such confidence, and such prosperity.

In around the year 300, the city was even expanded to become the emperor's residence, making it even more magnificent. It was not only the imperial family and their court who came to Trier, but also high-ranking officials, famous scholars and philosophers, bishops and church elders. The population was made up of a colourful mix of natives, Romans, Germanic tribes and Orientals. Because a global city of this type had to be well supplied, the surrounding countryside also benefited. Simply look at the magnificent estates that were built everywhere, the wine presses in what remain the very best vineyards, the ornate grave monuments and impressive temple complexes, and the once-bustling street settlements along the major highways.

An ancient metropolitan region of superlatives.

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