Basilica of Constantine

Trier, Germany

The Basilica of Constantine (Konstantinbasilika or Aula Palatina) is a Roman palace basilica that was built by the emperor Constantine (AD 306–337) at the beginning of the 4th century.

Today it is used as a church and owned by a congregation within the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland. The basilica contains the largest extant hall from antiquity with a length of 67 m, a width of 26.05 m and a height of 33 m. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Basilica was built around AD 310 as a part of the palace complex. Originally it was not a free standing building, but had other smaller buildings (such as a forehall, a vestibule and some service buildings) attached to it. The Aula Palatina was equipped with a floor and wall heating system (hypocaust).

During the Middle Ages, it was used as the residence for the bishop of Trier. For that, the apse was redesigned into living quarters and pinnacles were added to the top of its walls. In the 17th century, the archbishop Lothar von Metternich constructed his palace just next to the Aula Palatina and incorporating it into his palace some major redesign was done. Later in the 19th century, Frederick William IV of Prussia ordered the building to be restored to its original Roman state, which was done under the supervision of the military architect Carl Schnitzler.

In 1856, the Aula Palatina became a Protestant church. In 1944, the building burned due to an air raid of the allied forces during World War II. When it was repaired after the war, the historical inner decorations from the 19th century were not reconstructed, so that the brick walls are visible from the inside as well.

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Details

Founded: 310 AD
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Germanic Tribes (Germany)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

jeNeen Clipp (2 years ago)
You will feel small.
D'Ann Fowler (3 years ago)
Beautiful open church with a great history. It has been renovated several times through history for different uses, but still has it's old charm and the organ pipes are massive.
Hellmutti Orso-Maggiore (3 years ago)
One of the oldest buildings of Trier. Originally an audience hall of Caesar Constantine the Great, built in the 4th century a.d. it has become the only protestant church of Trier.
Michael Dawson (3 years ago)
We went with friends visiting from the USA on the weekend. One of the staff members working there was very rude. He wished for one member of our party to remove his baseball cap. First he tried to talk with him in German which of course he did not understand. Then he realized that he only understand English, and he became very rude with him. Courtesy goes a long way. This staff member missed the mark. We will never go there again.
Frank Wils (3 years ago)
Strangely connected to the palace, this must be the most photographed site in Trier. The basilica is said to be the former throneroom of the Roman king and queen Constantine and Helena. Whether this is true or not, it is a fine example of Roman architecture. Mostly rebuild in the 19the century. Still, it takes you back in time.
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