About Porta Nigra

Porta Nigra, translated as the “Black Gate” is a magnificently well-preserved second century Roman gate in Trier, Germany.

Originally constructed of large blocks of light sandstone, the darkening of its appearance by the Middle Ages led to it being called Porta Nigra, with its original name unknown.

By the mid-second century AD, Trier – then known as the Roman city of Augusta Treverorum – was fortified by a vast defensive wall. Porta Nigra is thought to have been constructed in the latter half of the second century, perhaps completed in 200 AD and would have been one of four city gates.

It is thought that the hermit monk Simeon lived in Porta Nigra’s east town sometime in the eleventh century, an event commemorated by the building of the adjacent monastery in his name - Simeonstift. Simeon’s residence in the gate saved it from major destruction and it was soon incorporated into a church, partially accounting for its excellent state of preservation.

When Napoleon saw Porta Nigra in 1804, he demanded that it be restored to its original state as it would have looked in Roman Trier. Today, Porta Nigra still bears the marks of its medieval conversions but it is still clearly an Ancient Roman creation. Inside, there are various Roman and medieval remnants. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Trier.

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