Porta Nigra at Night

Mainz and Trier

The trip to Mainz and Trier was our holiday trip to Germany in the end of November last year. The whole trip is for Mainz-Trier-Luxembourg. In this post I will write about Mainz and Trier first. The second post about the trip to Luxembourg is available here.

The trip to the Northern Alps of Mainz and Trier is particularly to see the Roman remains. Therefore most of the ‘must see places’ below is for the Roman buildings and Roman sites in Mainz and Trier. We departed from London to Frankfurt using Ryanair; then from Frankfurt airport we took a train journey to Mainz.

From Frankfurt Airport to Mainz
From Frankfurt Airport to Mainz (I think this is the correct ticket)

What to See in Mainz:

1. Mainz Roman Theatre or Römisches Buhnentheater

römisches buhnentheater in Mainz
Römisches Buhnentheater in Mainz

This is an interesting Roman theatre located near to the train station track.

römisches buhnentheater
Römisches Buhnentheater

Mainz theatre is said to be built from the 1st to the 4th century AD.

Mainz Roman Theatre
Mainz Roman Theatre

You can still see the remains of the seating areas.

Mainz Roman Theater
Mainz Roman Theater

The ruins of Mainz Roman Theater is quite impressive. Some of the theatre structures are somehow still visible.

2. The Museum of Ancient Shipbuilding

This museum displays the real size reconstruction of the Roman ships. I think they found the real ruins of the Roman ships by the Rhine river not far from the museum location.

The Museum of Ancient Shipbuilding
The Museum of Ancient Shipbuilding

Some of the original Roman ships are on display here in the Museum of Ancient Shipbuilding.

Original Roman ships
Original Roman ship
Ancient Roman ship
Ancient Roman ship
The Museum of Ancient Shipbuilding miniature of ship
Replica of the Roman ship
Beautiful inscription of Roman Ship
Beautiful inscription of Roman Ship

3. Mainz Old Town, Mainz Cathedral and Antique Shops

The Mainz Old Town is quite pretty with some old houses. Although the length and the size of the Old Town is not large, it has its own charming Dom (Cathedral), and so it is an interesting place to visit.

Mainz Old Town
Mainz Old Town with Mainz Dom
Mainz Altstadt at night
Mainz Altstadt at night

We also went to a Catholic church of St. Ignaz at Kapuzinerstr to have a Mass.

Catholic Church in Mainz
Catholic Churches in Mainz

We also visited an antique shop, I think it is called Mainzer Antikladen. And I bought two things in this shop. Please see here and here. There is also an antique shop in the Old Town called Antiquitaten Herber.

antiquitaten herber
Antiquitaten Herber

We stayed at the Ibis Hotel Mainz City Centre. It is quite a pleasant stay. Its location is closed to the Old Town and to the Mainz Roman Theatre.

A view of Mainz from Ibis Hotel City Centre
A view of Mainz from Ibis Hotel City Centre

As our trip is at the end of November, we also see some Christmas decorations.

Christmas decorations from a shop in Mainz
Christmas decorations from a shop in Mainz

From Ibis Mainz City Centre we then took a taxi to go to Mainz Central Station (Mainz Hauptbahnhof). We then embarked to our next destination: Trier. The train journey from Mainz Hauptbahnhof to Trier Hauptbahnhof took about three hours. It is a three-hours well spent as the view from the train is fabulous. The train routes are Mainz-Koblenz-Trier. We saw splendid scenery along the Rhein river. It is like walking down the Rhein river with hill sides both on your left and right. It is very panoramic. There are plenty of small castles on top of these hills. It is one of the best views I have experienced.

Mainz Hbf to Trier Hbf
Mainz Hbf to Trier Hbf
Mainz to Trier
Mainz to Trier ticket – I think each way is 44 Euro per person.

What to See in Trier

Well Trier is one of the places for those who are obsessed with the Roman Empire. Trier is arguably one of the best sites of Roman Germany.

1. Porta Nigra

Once we arrived at the Trier Hauptbahnhof, we walked approximately 15 minutes to see the Porta Nigra.

Trier Porta Nigra
Trier’s Porta Nigra – view from the main street

It is one of the well preserved Roman gates in the whole of the Roman Empire! This North Gate along with the city wall are built circa 160-200 AD. Although I think the city wall that you can see here in Mainz is very little, not many survived.

As it is Christmas season, there is a Christmas tree in front of Porta Nigra!

Porta Nigra with Christmas Tree
Porta Nigra with Christmas Tree

At night when the lights are lit, it looks beautiful.

Porta Nigra at Night
Porta Nigra at Night

You can climb up the Porta Nigra by paying a ticket. I suggest to buy a Pass ticket. The one that I buy is ‘Antikencard Premium’ which includes five Roman sites.

Trier Antikencard Premium
Trier Antikencard Premium

The view from the top of Porta Nigra is beautiful.

Trier City View from Porta Nigra
Trier City View from Porta Nigra

You can also see some exquisite parts of the Porta Nigra. It is worth to climb to scale up the impressive Gate consists of three floors!

Beautiful corner at Porta Nigra
Beautiful corner at Porta Nigra
Porta Nigra information
Porta Nigra Information – available at the ticket desk

Our hotel, Mercure Hotel Trier Porta Nigra, is located opposite of the Porta Nigra. The breakfast room gives a delightful view of the Gate!

Breakfast at Mercure Hotel with View of Porta Nigra
Breakfast at Mercure Hotel with a view of Porta Nigra

2. Aula Palatina or Constantine Basilica

I think this one is a palace of the Roman Emperor Constantine that was build at the 4th century. I am not sure what the function of this Palace is. Is it his private residential palace or his public/political palace to reign?

Aula Palatina
Aula Palatina
Aula Palatina or the Constantine Palace
Aula Palatina or the Constantine Palace
Constantine Basilica in Trier
Inside Aula Palatina

3. Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier

This is the Trier Archaeological Museum. You can see some unique features of Roman artefacts found in Trier. For example the stone of wine ship below which is quite a unique icon to Trier.

Neumagen wine ship at the Archaeological Museum
Neumagen wine ship at the Archaeological Museum

There are also some Roman tombs in massive scale.

Roman Tomb at the Trier Archaeological Museum
Roman Tomb at the Trier Archaeological Museum

And some impressive Roman mosaics.

Roman mosaic at the Trier Archaeological Museum
Roman mosaic at the Trier Archaeological Museum

One of the most exquisite findings is the Trier Gold Hoard which consists of 2516 Roman gold coins! Imagine to find these coins in a car park? It is probably the largest Roman gold coins ever found in a single hoard!

Roman gold coins at the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier
Roman gold coins at the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier

And to relax, there is a cafe at the Museum.

Coffee break in the Trier Archeological Museum
Coffee & tea break in the Trier Archeological Museum

4. Kaiserthermen or Trier Imperial Baths

The construction of Kaiserthermen begins at the beginning of the 4th century when Trier rose its popularity as the imperial capital of the Western Roman Empire. However the Baths is never completed and so it never served its purpose.

Trier Imperial Baths
Trier Imperial Baths

5. Trier Amphitheater

I think we walked to this Amphitheatre for quite some time. It is a long walk, probably around 20-25 minutes, and the location is in a residential area. The amphitheatre is large. Certainly some of its functions are still visible, like the underground area (to keep the animals? or a waiting area for the gladiators?), and a few VIP seating areas (probably for the Emperor or top politicians?). You can also climb to the top of the amphitheatre and see a spectacular view.

Trier Amphitheater
Trier Amphitheater – this picture is taken by my husband

6. Antique Shops in Trier

There is one popular antique shop in Trier named the Hans-Jörg Kottmeier Antiquitäten. You need to cross the bridge to arrive at this shop (assuming you walk from the old town). And it is worth the walk to get here. It is an amazing place for antique lovers.

Trier Antiquitäten Hans-Jörg Kottmeier
Trier Antiquitäten Hans-Jörg Kottmeier

Antiquitäten Kottmeier has a vast amount of collection. It has religious antique statues. So if you are after religious antique statues, this shop is the place for you.

Hans-Jörg kottmeier
Hans-Jörg Kottmeier

Their collection is so extensive, it feels like a museum of its own.

antiquitäten kottmeier
Antiquitäten Kottmeier collection

I have bought a pair of angels in this shop. Please see here for more.

Antiquitäten Hans-Jörg Kottmeier in Trier
Antiquitäten Hans-Jörg Kottmeier in Trier
Antique Shop in Trier
Kottmeier antique shop

There is also an antique bookshop near the Dom. I bought a 1938 Donald Disney magazine from this shop. You can see it here.

Antiquariat am Dom Trier
Antiquariat am Dom Trier

7. Trier City Centre

There is an interesting Cathedral to see in the old town (we did not get a chance to go inside). And since it is during the Christmas period, there is also a Christmas market.

Trier am Dom
Trier am Dom
Trier Christmas Market
Trier Christmas Market
Trier Weihnachtsmarkt
Trier Weihnachtsmarkt

We were not fuzzy about food, so we went and tried Chinese food, Italian food, and of course the German bratwurst.

Chinese cafe in Trier
Chinese cafe in Trier

We also try the German pub!

German Pub in Trier
A German Pub in Trier

And that’s all our journey in Mainz and Trier. From the Trier Hauptbahnhof, we then took our next destination train to Luxembourg.

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