Escorted Rail Tours to Trier
Birthplace of Karl Marx
Although historians disagree on exactly when Trier was founded by the Romans, they are agreed that it was no later than 16 BC - which makes it the oldest established city in Germany. The settlement was in a strategic position close to the Frankish territories, and so Trier grew in both size and importance, becoming the residence of the Western Roman Emperor. In about 418 AD the Emperor's administration was moved out of Trier, but the city continued to flourish as it still had a number of factories for the production of the Roman army's armour and clothing. The Franks saw Trier as a valuable prize, and captured the city in 459. Trier continued from this point with little change until 870, when it was absorbed into Eastern Francia, which in turn became part of the Holy Roman Empire. At around this time the city acquired the relics of Saint Matthias, which ensured the city became a destination for numerous pilgrimages.
Aside from wealth, another benefit of being a centre for early Christianity was that Trier gained political power throughout the Middle Ages, which was arguably its most stable period. The French invaded the city in 1794 under Napoleon, and in 1815 it became part of the Prussian Empire. Trier finally became part of the German Empire in 1871, and enjoyed a short period of renewed prosperity for the remainder of the century. The city was relatively untouched in the First World War, but suffered heavy bombing from the Allied Forces in the 1940s. But despite Trier's turbulent history, an amazing amount of the city's past has been preserved; as a number of different groups have left their mark on the city there are many different European architectural styles, including arguably the most impressive group of Roman monuments north of the Alps.