Trier Dom (Domfreihof)
[ Related page: Cathedrals of Germany ]
The fortress-like Trier Dom or Domfreihof, was built on the site of the former Constantinian Palace. The palace was destroyed in 330 after the Emperor’s last visit and replaced by the largest Christian church in antiquity, which was about four times the size of the current cathedral. Note the large pillar, the Domstein, at the main entrance, which was part of the Roman church. The Roman church was destroyed in the fifth and ninth centuries, but the central sections can still be seen with some parts of the original Roman walls, up to 26 m (85 feet) high, incorporated into the 11th-century Romanesque building. Although most of the current structure is Romanesque, the cathedral incorporates, not always smoothly, 1,650 years of architectural styles. Most of the somewhat restrained interior decorations are Baroque, with interesting altarpieces. The cathedral has a small treasury with gold and silver works and ivory carvings. The prize relic is Christ’s seamless robe.
When the cathedral is busy with visitors, the cloisters can offer a remarkable respite – partly because entry is the last of a series of no-entry doors at the right front of the cathedral. It has a few panels illustrating the floor plans and development through the centuries of the cathedral complex.
In contrast to the dark interior of the cathedral, the adjacent Liebfrauenkirche, shows the advances Gothic church architecture made to allow natural light into the building. It was built between 1235 and 1260 on the original southern part of the Roman church as one of the first fully Gothic churches in Germany. Its floor plan is a Greek cross with two smaller chapels between each of the larger apsidal ones. It gives the impression of a round shape, sometimes described as a rose with 12 petals.
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