Take a step through the Porta Nigra, and enter the world of the Trier, Germany market square known as the Hauptmarkt. This public square has served the community of Trier since medieval times. Trier is Germany’s oldest city founded by the Romans in 17 BC. It blends generations of culture into an easily walkable time-travel adventure. Roman ruins, fantastic museums, palaces and churches combine with nine UNESCO World Heritage sites to make it easy to experience German culture, but hard to decide where to go next.
When I visited in 2008 with my mom, my daughter and my niece, we found Trier to be a favorite stop along the Mosel River. It is recommended that you get an early start when you visit the market place to avoid some of the heavier afternoon shopping crowds. We were lucky to quickly locate a wonderful parking spot across the street from the Porta Nigra (The Black Gate) and our journey began. On my mom’s list of “must see” places in Trier, was the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of our Lady). It was built in the 13th century and is the oldest Gothic church in Germany. But sadly, as we approached we saw the sign stating that it was closed for a major renovation for the rest of the year. I remember standing outside the church doors blocked by construction scaffolding and consoling my mom. She was sure that she would never have another chance to visit this special place and we turned and left to our next destination with a heavy heart. Interesting enough, we are now going back to Trier this fall and my mother will again have an opportunity to visit her favorite German church. How special is that!
Besides the wonderful buildings and historical architecture, the marketplace in Trier is alive with shops and vendors. Fresh produce, flowers and craft stands line the cobblestone square and present a calliope of colors, sights and sounds. While there is so much to see and do in Trier, don’t rush or you will miss special moments of just soaking up the culture of this ancient city. It was in the Trier market square that Oma had a special moment with the tin man.
We had walked by this “fountain statue” several times during the day. We noted that it was an odd statue and in a very odd location in the square. The statue figure was very different and looked a bit more like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz than a medieval or Roman figure. There were spouts of water coming out and flowing into the odd shaped bowl at the bottom. The sign on the donation stand roughly says, “Good Luck Fountain”. “For only 1 Euro you will receive happiness. For children and seniors.” It wasn’t until Oma dropped a Euro into the donation bucket that a magical “happiness” moment occurred. The fountain statue came to life and called out and gestured to my mom to come closer. As she approached, the statue (man) reached out, pulled her close and planted a gentlemanly kiss on the back of her hand. The crowd cheered, my mom blushed a bit, and we all smiled as we went on our way. A special memory of Oma and the Tin Man that still warms my heart today.
Trier, Germany is a city of history and culture. And it is a city where you can get good luck and happiness for only 1 euro. I can’t wait to share this special place with my Dad, my husband and my son when we return there this September.