Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trier, Part of the Holy Roman Empire

Day 11 - Trier is the oldest city in Germany. There were settlements here in the third millennium before Christ and the Roman Emperor Augustus founded a thriving city in 15 BC. We visited the remains of the palatial imperial baths. This complex consisted of hot water baths, a huge hall housing a semi-circular pool and two smaller pools. In the basement, a vast labyrinthine network of corridors were constructed to provide access to the heating system by those manning the carts bringing charcoal. The last photo shows an opening where the hot water flowed into the pools.

It's amazing that they had engineered hot running water and then the skill seems to have been lost for centuries. We saw homes with hot water and floor heating in Medira, Spain, also part of the Roman Empire, when we visited there in the early 90s.

We continued our walk and viewed Porta Nigra, a towering Roman gateway built around 200 AD. It is the largest surviving city gate from ancient Roman times. We also visited the Trier Cathedral (St. Peter's) where the seamless robe of Christ is housed. According to one tradition, Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, discovered the seamless robe in the Holy Land in the year 327 or 328 along with several other relics, including the True Cross. The robe is normally kept folded in a reliquary and cannot be directly viewed by the faithful. We also viewed the Prince Bishop Palace that is now used as a government building. We were glad to learn the ancient history of this city.

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