Trier – Roman heritage and modern wine estates

In its heyday, Trier was one of the most important cities in the west of the Roman Empire. It boasted everything that Rome had to offer its citizens: an amphitheatre, various spas, an excellent road network and lots more.

The Imperial Baths, the Roman Bridge over the Moselle and the Porta Nigra are familiar sights to anyone who has ever visited Trier. But have you heard about the graveyard under St Maximin’s Abbey? In the 4th century, the early Christians were keen to be buried as close as possible to the saints, which in this case meant near to the grave of St Maximin. They believed this would stand them in good stead at the Last Judgement. You will be amazed at how many sandstone sarcophagi fit into such a small space. In later generations, they took the pragmatic approach of building them into the foundations of new walls. Taking part in one of the fascinating guided tours is a must, as it is the only way to see the graveyard.

Ancient sandstone sarcophagi under the abbey church of Sankt Maximin, Moselle valley

Ancient sandstone sarcophagi under the abbey church of Sankt Maximin, Moselle valley

Back then, sandstone was not only used for making sarcophagi, it was also the Romans’ preferred building material, as it was pretty, durable and readily available. Many of the Roman buildings surviving in Trier today are made from sandstone. The baths under the cattle market are another unmissable stop. They stretch out under the cattle market square and were very much state-of-the-art in the 3rd and 4th centuries. After the decline of the Roman Empire, as documented by the 2022 state exhibition from various perspectives across three of Trier’s museums, the baths were simply forgotten. The baths and all the relics from other times found in this area are now protected by a striking modern glass cube designed by architect Oswald Mathias Ungers. Take a step closer and have a look inside.

The regular events held in the amazing atmosphere under the glass cube of the Forum Baths come particularly highly recommended. Make a note of the date of the wine forum in January every year. This is the perfect opportunity to sample the wines and talk wine with lots of prestigious regional winemakers.

Insights into Roman town history in the Forum Baths, Moselle valley

Insights into Roman town history in the Forum Baths, Moselle valley

Architectural highlight: the glass cube of the Forum Baths, Moselle valley

Architectural highlight: the glass cube of the Forum Baths, Moselle valley

They have been making wine along the Moselle since Roman times. It boasts a favourable climate with slate and sandstone soils that produce excellent terroir, especially for Riesling. So it is hardly surprising that Trier is also home to the oldest wine cellar in Germany. It belongs to the accredited VDP ‘Vereinigte Hospitien’ estate. The guided tour of the cellar takes you through the historic vaults, with opportunities to soak up the unique atmosphere and, of course, sample a selection of quality wines. There is a perfect symbiosis of wood and metal, of old walls and modern architecture.

The ‘Vereinigte Hospitien’ estate forms part of the Via mosel’ wine and architecture project. This is a new route allowing you to discover the wine estates and villages along the Moselle that boast interesting historic or modern architecture. Combined with the wonderful wines of the Moselle, it makes for a real treat!

Wine tasting in the modern vinotheque of the Brixius winery in Maring, Moselle valley

Wine tasting in the modern vinotheque of the Brixius winery in Maring, Moselle valley

Selection of top wines at the historic Vereinigte Hospitien winery, Moselle valley

Selection of top wines at the historic Vereinigte Hospitien winery, Moselle valley

Ancient meets modern on the Moselle


In our second-to-last video, Martin Seidler visits Roman Trier, the oldest city in Germany. The colourful red sandstone has dominated the look of the city since Roman times, although it is now mainly found in the foundations and catacombs underground. The Romans even introduced wine-making to the region, and the combination of slate and sandstone gives the Moselle wines their unique flavour. The Via mosel’ route takes you to wine estates and wine bars with interesting architecture, all set against the wonderful backdrop of the river.

More wine travel highlights and cultural activities in the Moselle valley


The Romantic Cities in Rhineland-­Palatinate

The picturesque historic centres of Mainz, Koblenz, Trier, Worms, Speyer and Idar-Oberstein are ideal for shopping and invite you to plenty of cultural experiences and exciting events.

Wine bars

Taste a large variety of wines at the stylish wine bars in our wine regions.

Amphitheater (UNESCO World Heritage)

Trier, Stadt Trier Once a place of mass entertainment, the Roman site is now part of Trier's UNESCO World Heritage. Gladiators haven't completely disappeared though...

Roman Imperial Throne Room (Konstantin-Basilika) (UNESCO World Heritage)

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Roman Villa

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“Stella Noviomagi” Roman wine barge

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St Peter's Cathedral (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

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