Romerbrucke is an ancient Roman bridge crossing the Mosel River in the city of Trier, Germany. Built between 144 and 152 AD, much of the original structure of Romerbrucke still survives, although some of it – notably the road and its arches – date back to the 18th century.
Still an active bridge, Romerbrucke is said to be the oldest bridge in Germany and is a UNESCO World Roman monument.
The Roman Empire expanded upwards throughout Germany, and by the 1st century BC subdued the Treveri Celtic tribe. Augusta Treverorum was established around 16 BC, and was distinguished by name from other Roman cities to honour the Emperor Augustus. The city became a capital of Roman Belgic Gaul and later the capital of the Gauls, overseeing much of Rome’s western empire.
Built from the black basalt of the Eifel mountains, the 9 pillared Romerbrucke was constructed at the intersection of roads and waterways within the Roman arterial road system. The construction and completion of the first Romerbrucke were accompanied by the survey works for founding a city. The bridge’s original incarnation was wooden and stood for around 90 years, replaced by a bridge of stone around 71 AD.
This second Romerbrucke displayed impressive stability, however was redesigned in around 144 AD, probably because the traffic routes were too narrow for an ever-expanding city. By the 4th century, Trier was home to a population of 75,000, and the bridge had to withstand such traffic.
Almost 1600 years later, during the French, Prussian and Austrian territorial wars of the late 18th century, the bridge was partially destroyed and so the upper arches had to be rebuilt. Incredibly, the bridge survived the total wars of the 20th century, and was further widened to meet growing traffic needs.
Today, visitors and locals alike travel across the River Mosel and the Romerbrucke into Trier’s Centre of Antiquity. From the riverside, it is easy to identify the layers of the bridge’s history – the 18th century reconstructed arches made of red brick stand out against the ancient stone pillars.
An essential part of walking through Trier’s ancient foundations, including the Porta Nigra, you can join walking tours that cross over the Romerbrucke for a closer look at the Roman bridge.
Getting to Romerbrucke
If using public transport around Trier, the bus stop Westbahnhof on route 10 will drop you on the western end of the Romerbrucke. The town’s train station, Trier Hbf, on train routes RB and RE, is only a 28 minute walk away. There is lots of nearby parking in the city centre.
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