Our last day sightseeing in Europe, we leave the Mosel Valley to visit Germany’s oldest city, Trier. This was the capital of the West-Roman Empire and the Roman city gate at Porta Nigra dates to around 200 AD. One of four gates that guarded the rectangular Roman city, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps.
The ruins are hand-carved sandstone, some still bearing the stone masons’ cut marks. In the 11th century, the gate became a church and monastery until Napoleon decided to convert it back to its original Roman form in the 1800’s. We walked the stairs leading to these upper levels where the monks once recided.
Arched hallways are fortified to stabilize the old structure.
Beautiful carvings remain on the walls.
In the distance we can see city streets below and the Trier Cathedral (Dom St. Peter), the oldest German Bishopric in the distance. Construction began in 326 AD. Trier Cathedral remains a working Catholic cathedral and an important Catholic shrine.
In the opposite direction, we see St. Mary’s Column perched on the highest point of the sandstone cliffs. Located on the west side of the Moselle, the crowned statue of St. Mary stands on a 130 ft.pillar. It was built in 1866 from town donations to commemorate the church’s declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
We have lunch in the square taking in the whole scene.
Leaving Trier, we see some fun garage art
and enjoy beautiful tree-canopied streets.
We move on to Luxembourg and its picture-postcard streets. As part of the EU, we cross borders like crossing state to state back in the US.
We first visit the American Cemetery and Memorial.
We read the history of the dreadful battle. So much we didn’t remember from history classes.
The remains of 5,076 American military are buried here. Each name is etched on the entry memorial.
Each name is marked with a marble stone. These are the US soldiers who died during the German’s defeat at the Battle of the Bulge, the last major European battle of World War II.
From the side, the curve of so many markers so far from home is a moving tribute.
From the gravesites, the focus is on the chapel at the heart of the cemetary.
The grave of General George S. Patton lies at the top apex, between two American flags.
Leaving the cemetery, we drove a few miles to the city of Luxembourg. For defense, this beautiful city is built on the edge of a cliff.
Many lovely old buildings remain.
But it has the feel of a prosperous active metropolis.
Finally we head to Brussels where we stay at the airport hotel before leaving Europe. We’ll take off for Nairobi tomorrow…finally after 18 months of planning.