The Porta Nigra (Latin: "black gate") is an ancient city gate at the north side of the City of Trier, which the Romans built about the 2nd century A.D.
They founded the City of Trier in the year 16 B.C. The gate was built for reasons of prestige, but in the 3rd century it also served as a defence against the attacks of the Germanic tribes. In some places of the wall, markings containing time specifications can be seen. Due to these, the length of time taken to construct the gate can be judged to be about two to four years. For the building, pale sandstone blocks were used, which were placed on top of each other without using mortar, and were connected to each other with iron braces. During the centuries the sandstone weathered and took on a dark colour, which gave the Porta Nigra its name in the Middle Ages. The gate was most probably originally named "Porta Martis" after the Roman war god Mars.
In the years 1028 to 1035 a Greek monk named Simeon lived in part of the building as a hermit. After his death he was canonized and a church was built in his honour, which also housed a monastery. The Porta Nigra was used as building stock for this church. It was a double church with two naves over each other. The gate entrances were walled up and a much smaller city gate was constructed directly next to the Porta Nigra. As only one tower was needed for the construction of the church, one tower of the Porta Nigra was pulled down.
After several extensions and renovations during the following centuries, Napoleon had the church and monastery dissolved in 1802. From 1804, the extensions from the Middle Ages were removed, until in 1815 the Roman gate could once more be seen. Only the lower part of the apse is all that is left of the church. After the demolition work, the first ancient museum in Trier was opened in the Porta Nigra.
Since the 1970s, the Porta Nigra has been the only remaining building from the Roman city fortification. The city wall and all the other city gates were pulled down. In 1986 the gate and other Roman cultural monuments in Trier and surroundings were designated a World Cultural Heritage Site of UNESCO.
Length: 23 cm
Width: 14 cm
Height: 20 cm
Number of sheets: 5
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