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(trēr), Latin Augusta Treverorum, city (1994 pop. 99,183), Rhineland-Palatinate, SW Germany, a port on the Moselle (Ger. Mosel) River, near the Luxembourg border. It is also known, in English, as Treves (trēvz) and, in French, as Trèves (trĕv). Trier is an industrial city and the main center of the Moselle wine region. Manufactures include textiles, beer, tobacco products, machinery, and leather goods.

Landmarks and Institutions

Among the city's Roman monuments are the Porta Nigra (early 4th cent.), an imposing and well-preserved fortified gate; an amphitheater (c.100), which can seat about 25,000 persons; ruins of the imperial baths (4th cent.); and the basilica (probably built in the early 4th cent.; now a church). Trier also has a Romanesque cathedral, built (11th–12th cent.) around a 4th-century nucleus and containing the Holy Coat of Treves (supposed to be the seamless coat of Jesus). Other noteworthy buildings include the Gothic Church of Our Lady (13th cent.; Ger. Liebfrauenkirche); the baroque electoral palace (17th–18th cent.); and the baroque Church of St. Paulinus (1732–54; designed by B. Neumann). The rare exhibitions (e.g., in 1844, 1891, 1933, and 1959) of the Holy Coat of Treves have been the occasions of large pilgrimages. The remains of St. Matthew are preserved in a shrine in the pilgrimage church of St. Matthew (built in the 12th cent. around an earlier Benedictine monastery). Trier also has a theological seminary, a school of viticulture, and several museums, including one in the house where Karl MarxMarx, Karl,
1818–83, German social philosopher, the chief theorist of modern socialism and communism. Early Life

Marx's father, a lawyer, converted from Judaism to Lutheranism in 1824.
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 was born (1818).


One of the oldest cities in Germany, Trier has played an important role in its history since Roman times and retains many Roman monuments. Founded by Augustus c.15 B.C., the city was made (1st cent.) the capital of the Roman province of Belgica and later became (3d cent.) the capital of the prefecture of Gaul; it was named after the Treveri, a people of E Gaul. Under the Roman Empire Trier attained a population of c.50,000 and became a major commercial center, with a large wine trade. It was a frequent residence of the Western emperors from c.295 until its capture (early 5th cent.) by the Franks.

The city was made an episcopal see in the 4th cent. and an archiepiscopal see c.815. Under the rule of the archbishops, Trier flourished as a commercial and cultural center. Trier was the seat of a university from 1473 until it was occupied by the French in 1797. The archbishopric of Trier was secularized and was formally ceded to France in 1801 by the Treaty of Lunéville. At the Congress of Vienna the city and most of the archbishopric were awarded (1815) to Prussia; territory E of the Rhine was given to Nassau and, with Nassau, passed to Prussia in 1866. Trier again became an episcopal see in 1821. It was occupied by France after World War I and suffered considerable damage in World War II.

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Trier (Germany)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Trier (or Treves) is one of Germany’s oldest cities. The Roman Emperor Augustus founded it during the first century BCE. It later became the capital of the Roman province of Belgica and, in the third century, of the prefecture of Gaul. It was the site of a sacred healing spring associated with the god Mars, as well as a healing center dedicated to the deity Aesclapius.

Trier was also an early Christian center, and a church was constructed there during the reign of Constantine (c. 272–337). In 326 Constantine’s mother, Helena (c. 248-c. 329), made her famous trip to the Holy Land looking for relics of Jesus.

Among the items she is said to have brought back to Constantinople was the seamless garment that Jesus was said to have worn and for which the soldiers overseeing his crucifixion gambled (Matthew 27:35). Two stories conflict as to how the coat—whose authenticity has been widely questioned—reached Trier. One story suggests Helena contributed the coat herself. Others suggest that it was obtained at a later date by Charlemagne (c. 752–814) and then presented to the church.

The coat was regularly shown to the public, beginning in 1512, when the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire met at Trier. Shortly thereafter, Pope Leo X granted a plenary indulgence to pilgrims who went to Trier when the coat was being shown. The showing of the coat followed a seven-year schedule of public viewing. The building of Trier as a pilgrimage site, unfortunately for the city, ran counter to the Protestant Reformation, which had its origin in Germany and had made indulgences a central issue. Trier therefore discontinued the public displays of the coat in 1545. The church was destroyed by French soldiers in 1674 and not rebuilt until 1757.

A campaign to show the coat again began again in the nineteenth century. By the end of the century, some two million pilgrims were making the trek to Trier. During this time people began to believe that it was also a source for healings.


Heinen, H. “Helena, Konstantin und die Überlieferung der Kreuzauffindung im 4. Jahrhundert.” In Erich Aretz, et al. Der Heilige Rock zu Trier: Studien zur Geschichte und Verehrung der Tunika Christi. Trier, Germany: Paulinus Verlag, 1995.
Kann, Hans-Joachim. Pilgrims’ Guide to Trier and Area. Trier, Germany: Michael Weymand, 1994.
The Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena © 2008 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in the Federal Republic of Germany, in the Land (state) of Rhineland-Palatinate. Population, 102,200 (1973). Trier has enterprises for the production of foodstuffs, tobacco, carpets and other textiles, and footwear, as well as machinery, metal products, and electronic devices. It is the center of a viti-cultural and wine-making region. The city has a university. Karl Marx was born in Trier, and his house is now a museum.

In the first century B.C., Trier was a Roman military camp, founded on the site of a shrine belonging to the Triveri, a Gallic tribe. It later became the main city of the Roman province of Gallia Bélgica. Under Diocletian, who reigned from A.D. 284 to A.D. 305, it was the most important city of the entire prefecture of Gaul and one of the four capitals of the empire.

In the ninth century, Trier became the center of an archbishopric, and in the late 12th century it was chartered as a city. From the 15th to 18th centuries the city had a university. In 1794, Trier was annexed by France, and in 1814–15, by Prussia. During the Revolution of 1848–49 it was one of the centers of the democratic movement in the Rhineland. After World War I (1914–18) and until 1930 it was occupied by French and American forces. After World War II (1939–45), Trier was made part of the French occupation zone. Since 1949 it has been part of the Federal Republic of Germany.

In the late 19th century, industrial regions developed around the medieval center of the city. Extensively damaged in 1944 and 1945, Trier was rebuilt and expanded; the last major construction was executed in 1969.

Roman buildings that have been preserved include the amphitheater (c. A.D. 100), the Imperial Baths (c. 300), the Porta Nigra (early fourth century), and a basilica (first half of the fourth century). The city has a Romanesque cathedral built between the fourth and 18th centuries and known for its 11th-century west-work and its east choir (c. 1160–69); other notable Romanesque structures are the Frankenturm (11th century) and the Dreiköni-genhaus (early 13th century). Significant buildings of other periods include the Gothic Liebfrauenkirche (1250), the Steipe mansion (1430–83), a former Jesuit college in the Renaissance style (17th century), and the baroque Kesselstatt Palace (1740–45).


Kentenich, G. Geschichte der Stadt Trier. Trier, 1915.
Monz, H. Karl Marx und Trier. Trier, 1964.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a city in W Germany, in the Rhineland-Palatinate on the Moselle River: one of the oldest towns of central Europe, ancient capital of a Celto-Germanic tribe (the Treveri); an early centre of Christianity, ruled by powerful archbishops until the 18th century; wine trade; important Roman remains. Pop.: 100 180 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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