Trier's beautiful marketplace, the Hauptmarkt, is a focal point of the town and contains many of its finest old buildings, like the Gothic Steipe and the Renaissance Rotes Haus. The market place centers around the ornate Petrusbrunnen, and the pastel and half-timbered facades are watched over by the imposing spire of the St. Gangolf church.
Like a few other churches in towns across Germany, the St. Gangolf church was built by uppity local townsfolk as a means of usurping the power of the Church in the nearby cathedral. The church was built to be higher than the Cathedral, and the leaders of the Church in Trier were so annoyed they had one of the cathedral's tower extended in order to put the townsfolk back in their place.
All roads in Trier lead to the Hauptmarkt, so it makes a great place to navigate from. Standing at the Petrusbrunnen fountain, you have the Porta Nigra to the north, the Cathedral to the east, the Kaiserthermen to the south, and the Mosel river to the west.
Although the Haupmarkt had no market stalls on my cold february mid-week morning, and although there weren't many people around...I rather liked it like that.
I'm sure it's a very busy place when there's a market on, and certain it is very busy in season (Trier is a popular place to visit). But its emptiness did give me a better 'feel' for how Trier might have been in Medieval times.
I loved the colourful buildings, even though I appreciate the fact that those dating from earlier times were probably neither as colourful nor as well-maintained when they were first built! Some, of course, were damaged or destroyed in Second World War bombings and have been restored or reconstructed: the Steipe (the original dated from 1430) and the Rotes Haus (1684) are both almost complete reconstructions.
Spend a little time here, even if it's crowded when you visit. Take time to appreciate not only the history of the place but also the skill involved in reconstructing it after the war.
The Hauptmarkt was established as the centre of the city in the 10th century and is still the focal point of Trier. In the centre is the market cross (pic 4-5), which is the sign for the right to hold markets. It was granted by Otto the Great (912 - 973) - considered by many historians to be the founder of the Holy Roman Empire. In the south-western corner of the squre does a beautiful white house catch the eye. It is the so called Steipe, which means to lean and the building is leaning on some short pillars (pic. 1). On the walls facing the square are two warriors (pic. 2) standing above the four saints of the city: Helena, Peter, Paul and Jacob the Elder.
Next to the Steipe along the Dietrichstrasse there is a house with a Latin inscription that in translation means that Trier is "1.300 years older than Rome". This statement comes from a medieval belief that Trier was founded by an Assyrian prince called Trebeta. This should have happened about 2.000 years before our time. He is said to have been cremeted on Petrisberg just outside of Trier. Nobody knows about that. What we do know, however, is that German's oldest pharmacy, Löwenapotheke ("löwe" is German for "lion") is situated in the market place. It was first mentioned in 1241.
The main market square dates back to the 10th century.
Watch out for the Marktkreuz, the Petrusbrunnen, the Rotes Haus and the Löwenapotheke (Germany’s oldest pharmacy, from the 13th century).
This is also where I fell upon my Frischer Federweißer adventure - see my local customs tip!
If you have been to my previous tip's, then you are nearly standing in the Main Market Square.
In 882, the market was moved from the river to the present site, the Market Cross [replica] still commemorates this event from 958.
This was the busiest area in Trier we visited
The Hauptmarkt can easily be found after passing through the Porta Nigra, by proceeding straight ahead along Simeonstrasse. It is at the junction of Simeonstrasse, Dietrichstrasse,
Fleischstrasse, Grabenstrasse and Sternstrasse. St Peter's Fountain stands as its crowning glory alongside the Market Cross (which by the way, is only a replica today). The original stands in the Alstadt Museum Simeonstift.
The entrance to St Gangolph's Church is through an ornate gateway off the Hauptmarkt.
The town center is built around the market square known as the Hauptmarkt. Here is the center of Trier's shopping and entertainment. The right to hold markets here was granted in the 10th century.
The most prominent building here is Steipe, which was built in 1480-83 as a festival house for the City Council. In the center is St Peter's fountain, dedicated to the town's patron saint. St Gangolf's market church stands nearby.
pictured is the petrusbrunnen ( st. peter's fountain) built in 1595. the fountain has sculptures of st. peter and the four virtues. this beautiful fountain is located on the south eastern side of the hauptmarkt.
the hauptmarkt is trier's central square. pictured is a stone cross orginally erected in 958AD. the cross symbolizes trier's right to hold a market. the cross is mounted on the base of a roman column. the cross has a relief of the lamb of god.
This was the place to begin our journey. With street vendors, and performers, ancient buildings with stories to tell, the central fountain, this was just what I envisioned a medieval town square to resemble.
After the Viking destruction of 882, the archbishop moved the market from the river to the present site, the Market Cross still commemorates this event from 958. The original of the cross is in the Municipal Museum; the column shaft is a recycled granite column from the Roman Cathedral.
The Market Fountain from 1595 shows St. Peter, the patron saint of the Cathedral as well as the city, standing on top, surrounded by the four cardinal virtues of good city government, Justice, Strength, Temperance, and Wisdom (originals in the Municipal Museum), but also by monsters and frolicking monkeys.
The fountain, just like the Cathedral and the parish and guild church St. Gangolf as well the Steipe, are all rooted in the 300-year struggle for supremacy in the city. Between the 10th and the 12th centuries, the Trier archbishops, the lords spiritual, had also become lords temporal and, of course, had the church with the highest towers in town, namely the Cathedral - the left steeple still shows the original height.
The Hauptmarkt (Main Market), one of the most magnificent squares in the whole of Germany, is located a few blocks from the Porta Negra on Simeonstrasse, the pedestrian shopping street. The market is surrounded by a wonderful mix of beautiful Renaissance and Baroque architecture with historic Roman-era buildings and ruins.
In commemoration of a charter to hold markets in Trier, Archbishop Henry (958) erected a market cross in its centre which made this market the focal point of the town's further development during the Middle Ages. Trier’s Market Cross was erected on a granite pedestal dating from Roman times.
The market's south front holds the Church of St. Gangolph. St. Peter's Cathedral and the Church of Our Lady are very close to the market The most significant civic group of buildings is formed by the 'Steipe' and 'Rotes Haus' (Red House). One early booster, Johann Polch, the cathedral clerk and head of the bakers' guild, built the 17th-century Rotes Haus. It has a Latin inscription, itself three centuries old, which reads: "Trier existed 1300 years before Rome. May it enjoy eternal peace."
Germany’s oldest pharmacy, Löwenapotheke (Lion’s Pharmacy) was founded here in the 1600s, and a town-house nearby, built in the 1700s, is the birthplace of Karl Marx. Among the several sidewalk cafes in the Hauptmarkt, one can be recognized by the ever-popular Golden Arches — familiar food and drink, and there are clean restrooms on the second floor.