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Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier

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    The city of Trier, which is located in the west of Germany close to the border of Luxembourg, is also called “the second Rome” or “the Rome of the North” due to its outstanding historical background (World Heritage Convention (WHC) 2014; International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), 1985). The Roman colony settled in Trier, at that time called “Colonia Augusta Treverorum”, from the 16 BC and it developed to be one of the capitals of the Tetrarchy at the end of the 3rd century (WHC, 2014; ICOMOS, 1985). The number, density and quality of the surviving monuments of this history are an extraordinary testimony to Roman civilization (Criterion III) (WHC, 2014; ICOMOS, 1985; Deutsche UNESCO-Komission e.V., n.y.).

    Figure 1: Location of Trier in Germany

    _44108642_germany_trier_0907.gifThese monuments include: Porta Nigra (Porta Nigra) with its unique achievement of Roman architecture (Criterion I), Amphitheatre (Amphitheater), Roman Bridge (Römerbrücke), Barbara Baths (Barbarathermen) and the Igel Column (Igeler Säule) (Trier Tourismus und Marketing GmbH, 2014). Additionally later on more monumental building that express the imperial power of the West of the Empire were built, named the Cathedral of St Peter (Dom), the Imperial Baths (Kaiserthermen), the Roman Imperial Throne Room (Konstantin-Basilika) and the Church of Our Lady (Liebfrauenkirche) (WHC, 2014). Hence, Trier is, along with Istanbul, the example of a large Roman capital after the division of the Empire and therewith of international importance (Criterion IV) (WHC, 2014; ICOMOS, 1985). Furthermore, the oldest city of Germany is also directly associated with one specific major event of human history: Constantie’s march against Maxence in 312 which lead to the recognition of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire (Criterion VI) (WHC, 2014; ICOMOS, 1985). Thus, Trier is the Source: BBC News, 2007                        oldest city of Germany and imposes with a unique time travel to the Roman colony including the most impressive and best preserved Roman monuments north of the Alps, what caused that the ensemble was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1985 (Deutsche UNESCO-Komission e.V., n.y.).


    Figure 2: Amphitheatre             Figure 3: Roman Bridge           Figure 4: Barbara Baths            Figure 5: Cathedral of St Peter       Figure 6: Porta Nigra


    Source for Figure 2 - Figure 10: Trier Tourismus und Marketing GmbH, 2014


    Figure 7: Igel Column               Figure 8: Imperial Baths         Figure 9: Church of Our Lady    Figure 10: Roman Imperial Throne Room



    Managerial Challenges

    Due to the fact that Trier concludes as many as nine UNESCO heritage sides the preservation of the ensemble is very time and money consuming. The efforts about the protection already started at the beginning of the 19th century (WHC, 2014). The federal state Rhineland-Palatinate guarantees the consistent protection of the heritage sites by the Rhineland-Palatinate Monument Protection Act, which is quite exemplary (WHC, 2014). A close corporation of the properties owners (Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate, City of Trier, Diocese of Trier), the responsible conservation authorities and building administrations, the Ministry for Science and Culture and the Trier-Commission makes the successful conservation and management of construction issues possible (WHC, 2014). However, until today a buffer zone does not exist, but is highly recommended and already actively discussed (WHC, 2014).

    In fact experts claim the presentation of the unique legacy in the tourism industry to become much more offensive (Stadt Trier, 2013). Moreover it is criticized that future plans, visions and the integration of the historical sites into the modern city are so far missing in the culture plan of Trier for 2025 (Stadt Trier, 2013) as well as in the overall city image (Lenjoint, 2014). This identification is essential for a focused marketing of the destination (Lenjoint cited in Rhein-Zeitung, 2013; Lenjoint, 2014). Due to Trier's location right next to Luxembourg and France a cross-border marketing concept woudld be very beneficial (Lenjoint, 2014). Statistics prove that the Roman monuments and the world heritage sites are the main travel motives for Trier’s tourists (Stadt Trier, 2013). Especially for one of the main target groups of Trier, which are Chinese tourists due to Karl Marx’s birthplace, a UNESCO site means a symbol of quality (Lenjoint cited in Rhein-Zeitung, 2013; Lenjoint, 2014). Therefore these tourist attractions should be more actively used and animated, wherefore the yearly festival “bread and circuses” in the Imperial Baths and the happening of pop rock concerts in the Amphitheatre can be seen as best practice examples (Stadt Trier, 2013; Lenjoint, 2014). Furthermore, cooporations with other Roman UNESCO heritage sites (again also transnational) could attract even more tourists (Lenjoint, 2014). In other words, the current museum-oriented management should develop to a more entrepreneur-driven management of the heritage sites to focus more on experiences instead of historic education (Heldt Cassel, Pashkevich, 2011).

    Thus, it can be summarized that the preservation of the unique UNESCO sites “Roman monuments, Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier” is extraordinary and exemplary, whereas the presentation, branding and marketing with this legacy still needs further improvement and intensification, especially with the focus on the expanding market of heritage tourism (Aas, Ladkin, Fletcher, 2005).



    Aas, C., Ladkin, A., Fletcher, J. (2005) Stakeholder Collaboration and Heritage Management. Annals of Tourism Research, 32 (1), pp. 28-48.

    Deutsche UNESCO-Komission e.V. (n.y.) Römerbauten, Dom und Liebfrauenkirche in Trier. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 14/11/07].

    Erdmenger, E. (2014) Personal experiences during two-year residency and study in Trier 2011-2013. Contact

    Heldt Cassel S., Pashkevich A. (2011) Heritage Tourism and Inherited Institutional Structures: The Case of Falun Great Copper Mountain. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 11 (1), pp. 54-75.

    International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) (1985) World Heritage List No 367. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 14/11/15].

    Lenjoint, M. (2014) E-Mail contact about the UNESCO world heritage in Trier and its weaknesses and opportunities - 2014/11/16. 

    Rhein-Zeitung (2013) Tourismus-Erfolg ist auch eine Frage des Titels. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 14/11/15].

    Stadt Trier (2013) Identifikation mit dem historischen Erbe. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 14/11/15].

    Trier Tourismus und Marketing GmbH (2014) UNESCO-Welterbestätten. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 14/11/15].

    World Heritage Convention (WHC) (2014) Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 14/11/07].



    BBC News (2007) US base in Germany acts on threat. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 14/1/15].



    Trier Tourismus und Marketing GmbH (2014) UNESCO-Welterbestätten. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 14/11/15].


    Written by Eva Erdmenger

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