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.
What to See in Mainz:
1. Mainz Roman Theatre or Römisches Buhnentheater
This is an interesting Roman theatre located near to the train station track.
Mainz theatre is said to be built from the 1st to the 4th century AD.
You can still see the remains of the seating areas.
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.
Some of the original Roman ships are on display here in the Museum of Ancient Shipbuilding.
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.
We also went to a Catholic church of St. Ignaz at Kapuzinerstr to have a Mass.
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.
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.
As our trip is at the end of November, we also see some Christmas decorations.
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.
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.
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!
At night when the lights are lit, it looks beautiful.
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.
The view from the top of Porta Nigra is beautiful.
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!
Our hotel, Mercure Hotel Trier Porta Nigra, is located opposite of the Porta Nigra. The breakfast room gives a delightful view of the Gate!
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?
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.
There are also some Roman tombs in massive scale.
And some impressive Roman mosaics.
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!
And to relax, there is a cafe at the 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.
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.
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.
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.
Their collection is so extensive, it feels like a museum of its own.
I have bought a pair of angels in this shop. Please see here for more.
There is also an antique bookshop near the Dom. I bought a 1938 Donald Disney magazine from this shop. You can see it here.
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.
We were not fuzzy about food, so we went and tried Chinese food, Italian food, and of course the German bratwurst.
We also try the German pub!
And that’s all our journey in Mainz and Trier. From the Trier Hauptbahnhof, we then took our next destination train to Luxembourg.