Basilica of Constantine – Trier - History and Facts | History Hit

Basilica of Constantine – Trier

Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

The Basilica of Constantine in Trier was the Roman Emperor’s audience hall and the biggest surviving single room from Ancient Rome.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020

About Basilica of Constantine – Trier

The Basilica of Constantine or “Konstantin Basilika” in Trier in Germany is a remnant of this city’s prominent Ancient Roman history.

Basilica of Constantine history

The Aula Palatina or Basilica was added to the imperial palace around by Constantine I the Great, who took over Trier as his residence from his father Constantius I Chlorus.

Once the place where Emperor Constantine the Great would meet and greet audiences, the Basilica of Constantine was part of the development of Trier undertaken by the emperor from 306 AD.Originally it was not a free standing building, but had other smaller buildings attached to it. It was equipped with a floor and wall heating system.

At the time, Trier, then Augusta Treverorum, was the capital of Rome’s Western Empire and the home of Constantine the Great.In the fifth century, the Basilica of Constantine was destroyed by invading Germanic forces, but now stands restored.

During the Middle Ages, it was used as the residence for the bishop of Trier. For that, the apse was redesigned into living quarters and pinnacles were added to the top of its walls. In the 17th century, the archbishop Lothar von Metternich constructed his palace just next to the Aula Palatina and incorporating it into his palace some major redesign was done.

Later in the 19th century, Frederick William IV of Prussia ordered the building to be restored to its original Roman state, which was done under the supervision of the military architect Carl Schnitzler.

In 1856, the Aula Palatina became a Protestant church. In 1944, the building burned due to an air raid of the allied forces during World War Two. When it was repaired after the war, the historical inner decorations from the 19th century were not reconstructed, so that the brick walls are visible from the inside as well.

This is partially due to the fact that it was incorporated into a 17th century palace and then served as an army barracks. In 1944, the Basilica of Constantine was renovated and it is now used as a church.

Basilica of Constantine today

The Basilica of Constantine is one of this city’s many Ancient Roman sites and part of its UNESCO World Heritage listing. It is apparently the largest single Ancient Rome room to stand intact.

Because of the importance of the site for the history of the city, the excavation has been preserved since 1956 and was made accessible to visitors. It is one of the earliest initiatives with regard to cultural heritage preservation for public access.

Be sure to look out for the optical illusion created by the window sizes of the Basilica of Constantine, which make it look even bigger than it actually is.

The preserved excavation areas can only be explored with special guided tour.

Visualised reconstructions exemplify the building construction at the time, new display cases exhibit selected finds, while revised construction phase plans and a renewed colour scheme make it possible to orient yourself in the rooms.

Gettting to the Basilica of Constantine

The site is easily accessible by public transport. There are also several options for parking nearby.

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