The Barbara Baths – Trier - History and Facts | History Hit

The Barbara Baths – Trier

Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

The Barbara Baths were a second century baths complex of Roman Trier. UNESCO listed.

Peta Stamper

30 Apr 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About The Barbara Baths – Trier

The Barbara Baths (Barbarathermen) in Trier are a set of ruins of a 2nd century Roman baths complex. A little of the original Barbara Baths can be seen above ground today, paling in comparison to the Imperial Baths of Trier. This is due to the complex being quarried for materials in the 17th century.

However, below street level lie a fascinating set of tunnels in which visitors can view the workings of the Barbara Baths. The Barbara Baths are a UNESCO World Heritage site and have been closed for preservation reasons since 2014.

The Barbara Baths – Trier history

In the 2nd century AD, the Roman inhabitants of Augusta Treverorum built a sprawling bath complex over 42,000 square metres. The immense baths that were situated between the bridge and Trier forum, would have cost a significant amount of money, and so represented a period of prosperity in Treverorum.

The city was the capital of the Roman province of Gaul and by the 4th century AD boasted a population of around 75,000. The Praetorian Prefecture moved from Trier to Arles in the early 5th century. The baths were still in use until this point but did not survive the Frank sacks of Trier between 410 and 435.

People began living in the baths ruins, and a chapel was built inside one of the Roman buildings, while others were repurposed as a monastery to Saint Barbara – giving the baths their name. During the middle ages, the baths served as a castle as did the nearby Imperial Baths. The extensive remains were knocked down and recycled to build the Jesuit College in 1610.

The Barbara Baths – Trier today

Unfortunately, today very little of the complex remains within the almost 100 metres-deep ruins. Yet visitors can still make out the bath foundations and service tunnels that ran underground, including the sewer systems, pools, furnaces and further heating system.

Walking along the visitor walkway you will have to imagine how impressive the baths would once have looked, full of people taking part in this popular social and physical ritual. Along the walkway are reconstructions that reveal the routine and structure of the former baths, as well as archaeological descriptions of the ongoing restoration work at the Barbara Baths.

Getting to The Barbara Baths – Trier

The closest bus stop is Barbarathermen along Kaiserstraße serving line 9, which is just across the road from the baths. For those driving from Luxembourg, head along the A7 and A1 for about an hour. If travelling from Frankfurt, take the B50 and B49 towards Südallee. There is car parking at Parkplatz along Lorenz-Kellner-straße, a 2 minute walk down to the Barbara Baths.

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