Last updated
Trier-Blick-vom Weishaus.JPG
September 2009 view over Trier
Flagge Trier.svg
DEU Trier COA.svg
Coat of arms
Location of Trier
Germany adm location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Rhineland-Palatinate location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates: 49°45′24″N06°38′29″E / 49.75667°N 6.64139°E / 49.75667; 6.64139 Coordinates: 49°45′24″N06°38′29″E / 49.75667°N 6.64139°E / 49.75667; 6.64139
Country Germany
State Rhineland-Palatinate
District Urban district
   Lord mayor Wolfram Leibe (SPD)
  Total117.06 km2 (45.20 sq mi)
137 m (449 ft)
 (2019-12-31) [1]
  Density950/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Trevian
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
54290–54296 (except 54291)
Dialling codes 0651
Vehicle registration TR

Trier ( /trɪər/ TREER, [2] [3] German: [tʁiːɐ̯] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); Luxembourgish : Tréier [ˈtʀəɪɐ] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )), formerly known in English as Treves ( /trɛv/ TREV; [4] [5] French : Trèves [tʁɛv] ; Latin : Augusta Treverorum) and Triers (see also names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle in Germany. It lies in a valley between low vine-covered hills of red sandstone in the west of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, near the border with Luxembourg and within the important Moselle wine region.


Founded by the Celts in the late 4th century BC as Treuorum and conquered 300 years later by the Romans, who renamed it Augusta Treverorum ("The City of Augustus among the Treveri"), Trier is considered Germany's oldest city. [6] [7] It is also the oldest seat of a bishop north of the Alps. In the Middle Ages, the archbishop-elector of Trier was an important prince of the Church who controlled land from the French border to the Rhine. The archbishop-elector of Trier also had great significance as one of the seven electors of the Holy Roman Empire.

With an approximate population of 105,000, Trier is the fourth-largest city in its state, after Mainz, Ludwigshafen, and Koblenz. [8] The nearest major cities are Luxembourg (50 km or 31 mi to the southwest), Saarbrücken (80 kilometres or 50 miles southeast), and Koblenz (100 km or 62 mi northeast).

The University of Trier, the administration of the Trier-Saarburg district and the seat of the ADD (Aufsichts- und Dienstleistungsdirektion), which until 1999 was the borough authority of Trier, and the Academy of European Law (ERA) are all based in Trier. It is one of the five "central places" of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Along with Luxembourg, Metz and Saarbrücken, fellow constituent members of the QuattroPole union of cities, it is central to the greater region encompassing Saar-Lor-Lux (Saarland, Lorraine and Luxembourg), Rhineland-Palatinate, and Wallonia.


The first traces of human settlement in the area of the city show evidence of linear pottery settlements dating from the early Neolithic period. Since the last pre-Christian centuries, members of the Celtic tribe of the Treveri settled in the area of today's Trier. [9] The city of Trier derives its name from the later Latin locative in Trēverīs for earlier Augusta Treverorum. According to the Archbishops of Trier, in the Gesta Treverorum, the founder of the city of the Trevians is Trebeta. German historian Johannes Aventinus also credited Trebeta with building settlements at Metz, Mainz, Basel, Strasbourg, Speyer and Worms.

Augusta Treverorum in the 4th century Augusta Treverorum.jpg
Augusta Treverorum in the 4th century
Porta Nigra Trier Porta Nigra BW 1.JPG
Porta Nigra

The historical record describes the Roman Empire subduing the Treveri in the 1st century BC and establishing Augusta Treverorum about 16 BC. [10] The name distinguished it from the empire's many other cities honoring the first emperor Augustus. The city later became the capital of the province of Belgic Gaul; after the Diocletian Reforms, it became the capital of the prefecture of the Gauls, overseeing much of the Western Roman Empire. In the 4th century, Trier was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire with a population around 75,000 and perhaps as much as 100,000. [11] [12] [13] [14] The Porta Nigra ("Black Gate") dates from this era. A residence of the Western Roman Emperor, Roman Trier was the birthplace of Saint Ambrose. Sometime between 395 and 418, probably in 407 the Roman administration moved the staff of the Praetorian Prefecture from Trier to Arles. The city continued to be inhabited but was not as prosperous as before. However, it remained the seat of a governor and had state factories for the production of ballistae and armor and woolen uniforms for the troops, clothing for the civil service, and high-quality garments for the Court. Northern Gaul was held by the Romans along a line from north of Cologne to the coast at Boulogne through what is today southern Belgium until 460. South of this line, Roman control was firm, as evidenced by the continuing operation of the imperial arms factory at Amiens.

Scale model of Trier around 1800 Trier Stadtmodell.JPG
Scale model of Trier around 1800
Cathedral of Trier Trier Dom BW 24.JPG
Cathedral of Trier
Electoral Palace Trier Kurfuerstliches Palais BW 1.JPG
Electoral Palace

The Franks seized Trier from Roman administration in 459. In 870, it became part of Eastern Francia, which developed into the Holy Roman Empire. Relics of Saint Matthias brought to the city initiated widespread pilgrimages. The bishops of the city grew increasingly powerful and the Archbishopric of Trier was recognized as an electorate of the empire, one of the most powerful states of Germany. The University of Trier was founded in the city in 1473. In the 17th century, the Archbishops and Prince-Electors of Trier relocated their residences to Philippsburg Castle in Ehrenbreitstein, near Koblenz. A session of the Reichstag was held in Trier in 1512, during which the demarcation of the Imperial Circles was definitively established.

In the years from 1581 to 1593, the Trier witch trials were held, perhaps the largest witch trial in European history. It was certainly one of the four largest witch trials in Germany alongside the Fulda witch trials, the Würzburg witch trial, and the Bamberg witch trials. The persecutions started in the diocese of Trier in 1581 and reached the city itself in 1587, where it was to lead to the death of about 368 people, and was as such perhaps the biggest mass execution in Europe in peacetime. This counts only those executed within the city itself, and the real number of executions, counting also those executed in all the witch hunts within the diocese as a whole, was therefore even larger. The exact number of people executed has never been established; a total of 1,000 has been suggested but not confirmed.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Trier was sought after by France, who invaded during the Thirty Years' War, the War of the Grand Alliance, the War of the Spanish Succession, and the War of the Polish Succession. France succeeded in finally claiming Trier in 1794 during the French Revolutionary Wars, and the electoral archbishopric was dissolved. After the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815, Trier passed to the Kingdom of Prussia. Karl Marx, the German philosopher and one of the founders of Marxism, was born in the city in 1818.

As part of the Prussian Rhineland, Trier developed economically during the 19th century. The city rose in revolt during the revolutions of 1848 in the German states, although the rebels were forced to concede. It became part of the German Empire in 1871.

The synagogue on Zuckerbergstrasse was looted during the November 1938 Kristallnacht and later completely destroyed in a bomb attack in 1944. Multiple Stolperstein have been installed in Trier to commemorate those murdered and exiled during the Shoah [15]

In June 1940 over 60,000 British prisoners of war, captured at Dunkirk and Northern France, were marched to Trier, which became a staging post for British soldiers headed for German prisoner-of-war camps. Trier was heavily bombed and bombarded in 1944 during World War II. The city became part of the new state of Rhineland-Palatinate after the war. The university, dissolved in 1797, was restarted in the 1970s, while the Cathedral of Trier was reopened in 1974. Trier officially celebrated its 2,000th anniversary in 1984. On December 1, 2020, 5 people were killed by an allegedly drunk driver during a vehicle-ramming attack. [16]


Historical population
source: [17] [ circular reference ]
Trier Panorama Mariensaeule kl.jpg
View of the city from St. Mary's Column (Mariensäule).
Trier Vom Kreuzweg Nachts.jpg
Trier from the east (Petrisberg).

Trier sits in a hollow midway along the Moselle valley, with the most significant portion of the city on the east bank of the river. Wooded and vineyard-covered slopes stretch up to the Hunsrück plateau in the south and the Eifel in the north. The border with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is some 15 km (9 mi) away.

Largest groups of foreign residents
Country of birthPopulation (2013)
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 688
Flag of France.svg  France 675
Flag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxembourg 573
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 476
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 444

Neighbouring municipalities

Listed in clockwise order, beginning with the northernmost; all municipalities belong to the Trier-Saarburg district

Schweich, Kenn and Longuich (all part of the Verbandsgemeinde Schweich an der Römischen Weinstraße), Mertesdorf, Kasel, Waldrach, Morscheid, Korlingen and Gusterath (all in the Verbandsgemeinde Ruwer), Hockweiler, Franzenheim (both part of the Verbandsgemeinde Trier-Land), Konz and Wasserliesch (both part of the Verbandsgemeinde Konz), Igel, Trierweiler, Aach, Newel, Kordel, Zemmer (all in the Verbandsgemeinde Trier-Land).

Organization of city districts

Districts of Trier Ortsbezirke-trier.png
Districts of Trier

The Trier urban area is divided into 19 city districts. For each district there is an Ortsbeirat (local council) of between 9 and 15 members, as well as an Ortsvorsteher (local representative). The local councils are charged with hearing the important issues that affect the district, although the final decision on any issue rests with the city council. The local councils nevertheless have the freedom to undertake limited measures within the bounds of their districts and their budgets.

The districts of Trier with area and inhabitants (December 31, 2009):

Official district numberDistrict with associated sub-districtsArea
in km2
12Nord (Nells Ländchen, Maximin)3.76913,405
13Süd (St. Barbara, St. Matthias or St. Mattheis)1.7229,123
24 Ruwer/Eitelsbach 9.1673,091
32Euren (Herresthal)13.1894,207
33Zewen (Oberkirch)7.4963,634
42Kürenz (Alt-Kürenz, Neu-Kürenz)5.8258,708
43 Tarforst 4.1846,605
52Heiligkreuz (Alt-Heiligkreuz, Neu-Heiligkreuz, St. Maternus)2.0366,672
53Mariahof (St. Michael)7.0403,120


Trier has an oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb), but with greater extremes than the marine versions of northern Germany. Summers are warm except in unusual heat waves and winters are recurrently cold, but not harsh. Precipitation is high despite not being on the coast. [18] As a result of the European heat wave in 2003, the highest temperature recorded was 39 °C on 8 August of that year. The lowest recorded temperature was −19.3 °C on February 2, 1956. [19]

Climate data for Trier (Petrisberg), elevation: 265 m, 1971–2000 normals
Average high °C (°F)3.7
Daily mean °C (°F)1.4
Average low °C (°F)−0.9
Average precipitation mm (inches)62.3
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)12.29.711.69.411.311.
Source: DWD
Climate data for Trier (Petrisberg), elevation: 273 m, 1961–1990 normals and extremes
Record high °C (°F)14.3
Average high °C (°F)3.1
Daily mean °C (°F)0.9
Average low °C (°F)−1.4
Record low °C (°F)−18.3
Average precipitation mm (inches)60.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 43.676.9114.3156.9203.4206.3225.5200.5152.4103.349.440.11,572.6
Source: NOAA [20]

Main sights

Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Trier Kaiserthermen BW 1.JPG
Ruins of the Imperial Baths
Includes Amphitheater, Roman bridge, Barbara Baths, Igel Column, Porta Nigra, Imperial Baths, Aula Palatina, Cathedral and Liebfrauenkirche
Criteria Cultural: i, iii, iv, vi
Reference 367
Inscription1986 (10th session)

Trier is known for its well-preserved Roman and medieval buildings, which include:


Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier Rheinische Landesmusee Treier.jpg
Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier


Uni Trier Campus 1 Uni Trier Campus 1.jpg
Uni Trier Campus 1
University of applied sciences, central campus HochschuleTrier Central Campus.png
University of applied sciences, central campus

Trier is home to the University of Trier, founded in 1473, closed in 1796 and restarted in 1970. The city also has the Trier University of Applied Sciences. The Academy of European Law (ERA) was established in 1992 and provides training in European law to legal practitioners. In 2010 there were about 40 Kindergärten, [21] 25 primary schools and 23 secondary schools in Trier, such as the Humboldt Gymnasium Trier, Max Planck Gymnasium, Auguste Viktoria Gymnasium and the Nelson-Mandela Realschule Plus, Kurfürst-Balduin Realschule Plus, Realschule Plus Ehrang. [22]

Annual events

Tourists in Trier, Germany. Tourists in Trier, Germany.jpg
Tourists in Trier, Germany.
Sign in Trier's tourist district. Sign in Trier's tourist district.jpg
Sign in Trier's tourist district.


Trier station has direct railway connections to many cities in the region. The nearest cities by train are Cologne, Saarbrücken and Luxembourg. Via the motorways A 1, A 48 and A 64 Trier is linked with Koblenz, Saarbrücken and Luxembourg. The nearest commercial (international) airports are in Luxembourg (0:40 h by car), Frankfurt-Hahn (1:00 h), Saarbrücken (1:00 h), Frankfurt (2:00 h) and Cologne/Bonn (2:00 h). The Moselle is an important waterway and is also used for river cruises. A new passenger railway service on the western side of the Mosel is scheduled to open in December 2018. [23]


Moselstadium Trier Moselstadium Trier 02.jpg
Moselstadium Trier

Major sports clubs in Trier include:

International relations

Trier is a fellow member of the QuattroPole union of cities, along with Luxembourg, Saarbrücken and Metz (neighbouring countries: Luxembourg and France).

Twin towns – sister cities

Trier is twinned with: [24]


Notable people

Related Research Articles

Moselle River in Western Europe

The Moselle is a river that rises in the Vosges mountains and flows through north-eastern France, Luxembourg, and western Germany. It is a left bank tributary of the Rhine, which it joins at Koblenz. A small part of Belgium is in its basin as it includes the Sauer and the Our.

Koblenz Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Koblenz, spelled Coblenz before 1926, is a German city on the banks of the Rhine and of the Moselle, a multi-nation tributary.

Gallia Belgica Roman province

Gallia Belgica was a province of the Roman Empire located in the north-eastern part of Roman Gaul, in what is today primarily northern France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, along with parts of the Netherlands and Germany.

Treveri Belgic tribe

The Treveri or Treviri were a Celtic tribe of the Belgae group who inhabited the lower valley of the Moselle from around 150 BCE, if not earlier, until their displacement by the Franks. Their domain lay within the southern fringes of the Silva Arduenna, a part of the vast Silva Carbonaria, in what are now Luxembourg, southeastern Belgium and western Germany; its centre was the city of Trier, to which the Treveri give their name. Celtic in language, according to Tacitus they claimed Germanic descent. They possibly contained both Gallic and Germanic influences.

Konz Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Konz is a city in the Trier-Saarburg district, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is situated at the confluence of the rivers Saar and Moselle, approx. 8 km southwest of Trier.

Zeltingen-Rachtig Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Zeltingen-Rachtig is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Bernkastel-Wittlich district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Wittlich Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

The town of Wittlich is the seat of the Bernkastel-Wittlich district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Its historic town centre and the beauty of the surrounding countryside make the town a centre for tourism in southwest Germany.

Neumagen-Dhron Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Neumagen-Dhron is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Bernkastel-Wittlich district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is a state-recognized tourism community, and it was the seat of the former Verbandsgemeinde of Neumagen-Dhron. Its situation and amenities make it a lower-order centre.

Münstermaifeld Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Münstermaifeld is a town in the district Mayen-Koblenz, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is part of the Verbandsgemeinde of Maifeld. It is situated south-east of Mayen, a few kilometres from the Moselle river and Eltz Castle. The first (B.C.) residents of the region were Celts. The old church is based on a Roman castle-tower. After the Romans, the Franks (Charlemagne) arrived in the 9th century. In the Middle Ages (1277) Münstermaifeld received town privileges and was governed by the bishop of Trier. It is one of the oldest towns in Rhineland-Palatinate and, with its 3,400 citizens, one of the smallest.

Electorate of Trier

The Electorate of Trier, traditionally known in English by its French name of Trèves, was an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire that existed from the end of the 9th to the early 19th century. It consisted of the temporal possessions of the prince-archbishop of Trier, also a prince-elector of the empire, along with the Elector of Cologne and the Elector of Mainz, among which the latter ranked first.

Trittenheim Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Trittenheim on the Middle Moselle is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Trier-Saarburg district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

History of Trier Aspect of history

Trier in Rhineland-Palatinate, whose history dates to the Roman Empire, is often claimed to be the oldest city in Germany. Traditionally it was known in English by its French name of Treves.

Ürzig Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Ürzig is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Bernkastel-Wittlich district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.


SaarLorLux or Saar-Lor-Lux, a portmanteau of Saarland, Lorraine and Luxembourg, is a euroregion of five regional authorities located in four European states. The term has also been applied to cooperations of several of these authorities or of their subdivisions, administrations, organisations, clubs and people. Member regions represent different political structures: the sovereign state of Luxembourg; Belgium's Walloon region, comprising the French and German speaking parts of Belgium; Lorraine, a region of France; the French départements Moselle and Meurthe-et-Moselle; and the German federated states of Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate.

Bundenbach Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Bundenbach is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Birkenfeld district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It belongs to the Verbandsgemeinde Herrstein-Rhaunen, whose seat is in Herrstein.

Bullay Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Bullay is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Cochem-Zell district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It belongs to the Verbandsgemeinde of Zell, whose seat is in the municipality of Zell an der Mosel.

Lieg Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Lieg is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Cochem-Zell district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It belongs to the Verbandsgemeinde of Cochem.

Gillenfeld Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Gillenfeld is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Vulkaneifel district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It belongs to the Verbandsgemeinde of Daun, whose seat is in the like-named town.

Trier Hauptbahnhof

Trier Hauptbahnhof is a railway station for the city of Trier, in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. It is a through station, about 500 metres (550 yd) east of the inner city and the Porta Nigra.

Koblenz–Trier railway Railway in Germany

The Koblenz–Trier Railway is a railway line in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, located mostly on the left (northern) bank of the Moselle, connecting Koblenz via Bullay to Trier. It is known in German as the Moselstrecke, i.e. "Moselle line". It is often called the Moselbahn links der Mosel to distinguish it from the Moselle Railway (Moselbahn) or Moselle Valley Railway (Moseltalbahn), which ran on the right (southern) bank of the Moselle from Bullay to Trier, but was abandoned in the 1960s. The line was built as part of the Cannons Railway (Kanonenbahn) and opened in 1879.


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  7. An honor that is contested by Cologne, Kempten, and Worms.
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Further reading

Heinz Monz: Trierer Biographisches Lexikon. Landesarchivverwaltung Rheinland-Pfalz, Koblenz 2000. 539 p.  ISBN   3-931014-49-5.