Trier Cathedral - History and Facts | History Hit

Trier Cathedral

Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Trier Cathedral is a mostly medieval, UNESCO-listed church with a history dating back to Roman times.

Peta Stamper

16 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Trier Cathedral

Trier Cathedral, called Trierer Dom in German, is the main church of the ancient city of Trier, South Germany. The site of Trier Cathedral has a rich Christian history dating back to at least 270 AD, when worshippers attended what was probably the first church to have existed at this location – a house church. Today, you can visit this historic landmark, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Trier Cathedral history

In the 4th century the then ongoing persecution against Christians began to decline. With this increase in religious freedom came the opportunity to worship more openly. Thus, from 340 AD, the site of Trier Cathedral became home to a construction known as ‘The Square’. Some remains of this structure are still visible today, its outer walls now forming part of Trier Cathedral.

This predecessor of Trier Cathedral was destroyed in the 5th and 9th centuries, respectively by Germanic and Viking tribes. Most of the current Trier Cathedral dates back to the eleventh and twelfth centuries, when a Romanesque church was built. The church has also been remodelled and altered at various stages, including in a Baroque style in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Trier Cathedral today

Few remnants of the original Ancient Roman church are viewable today in the church itself, however there are extensive underground excavations which can be seen as part of a guided tour (book in advance on the official site).

Along with these underground remains, a section of the original Roman walls survives in the main structure, rising to a height of almost 30 metres. A few additional Roman elements and columns are visible and the rest of Trier Cathedral – which appears seemingly more like a citadel than a house of worship – beautifully preserves the medieval history of this site.

Trier Cathedral is also the home of the Holy Tunic, a robe which is said to have been worn by Jesus when he died, however this is rarely exhibited.

Getting to Trier Cathedral

Sat within Trier’s ancient centre, Trier Cathedral is easily found when exploring the city on foot. FOr those using public transport, the 2, 4, 7, 30, 31, 81, 84, 85 and 88 bus lines all stop at Stradtwerke Trier on the main road outside the cathedral. Otherwise, Trier Hbf station is also just across the road and links to Koblenz, Koln and Luxembourg.

Featured In

Constantine the Great Sites

Follow in the footsteps of Constantine the Great from the Hagia Sophia to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and more, includes an interactive map of Emperor Constantine I locations.

10 Historic Churches

From house churches to show-stopping landmarks to worshipping spaces carved into caves, these churches have all made their mark on history.

Roman Sites in Germany

The Romans left behind a number of fascinating sites such as amphitheatres, baths, villas, and burial grounds after being evicted from 'Germania'. Here's our pick of 10 of the most fascinating Roman ruins in Germany.