Trier & the Moselle - Roman ruins and mediaeval monuments

Prices from £1,650


9 Oct 2019 - 13 Oct 2019
Duration: 4 nights
Ref: 19TRIE
With: Dr Ulrike Ziegler


Prices from £1,650
Single Supplement: £180
Deposit: £200

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Trier’s ancient Roman imperial status is reflected in its impressive architecture; vast, intricate mosaic floors; large-scale sculpted monuments and delicate glassware.

At the end of the 5th century, nothing was left of the once pulsating urban life of Trier and its 50,000 inhabitants. But the seed of Christianity had put down strong roots and the bishops of Trier, soon to be archbishops, filled the power vacuum and emerged as secular rulers. The “Holy City” of Trier was soon filled with churches, convents and collegiate foundations and the Archbishop of Trier became one of the seven prince-electors who exerted great political influence. The Romanesque cathedral, the Church of Our Lady and the imperial abbey of St Maximin bear witness to this period.

Its political status ensured that Trier became an artistic treasure-chest of illuminated manuscripts, resplendent goldsmiths’ work, enamels and acclaimed sculpture, in wood and stone. The city is imbedded in the panoramic Moselle valley where small, wine-growing villages feature romantic timbered houses, a maze of small cobblestone alleys and excellent Moselle Rießlings.


Dr Ulrike Ziegler studied art history and archaeology at the University of Regensburg and King’s College Aberdeen specialising in medieval art and architecture. Her PhD focused on art exhibitions and cultural politics of post-war Germany. She has taught at university and is now lecturing for various cultural institutions. She has organised and led many study trips in Germany and Austria. In addition to tour lecturing, Ulrike is developing Art Pursuit Abroad’s German programme.


We take our morning flight from London City to Luxembourg. We travel by coach to Trier. A lecture over an aperitif introduces us to the historical and enological offerings of Trier and the Moselle region. An introductory walking tour will be followed by dinner in a local restaurant and wine tavern, where we will taste Moselle wine.


A day in Trier is dedicated to the clerical heart of Trier, the cathedral of St Peter and the church of Our Lady. A highlight of the tour is the late Roman burial ground beneath the former abbey church of St Maximin with its astonishing abundance of rich Roman sarcophagi (please be prepared for very uneven surfaces in the underground site). These sites will be complemented by a visit to the cathedral museum displaying Constantinian and Carolingian wall paintings, mediaeval sculpture and architectural models of Trier’s imposing church complex.


A full-day coach excursion to Maria Laach and the Moselle valley. Situated on the shore of a beautiful lake, the Benedictine abbey of Maria Laach is a pinnacle of German Romanesque architecture and sculpture. Notable features include the abbey church with its multiple towers and the unique, colonnaded west porch with richly carved capitals by the so-called Samson Master. From here the coach takes us to delightful Bernkastel-Kues, home to some of the most renown Moselle wineries. After lunch in a traditional restaurant, stroll through town to savour the picturesque views of Bernkastel and explore the home town of one of the most eminent mediaeval philosophers, Cardinal Nikolaus von Kues. Spend the afternoon cruising along the Moselle river to see the vineyards, before visiting a prestigious Bernkastel wine-grower to taste some renown wines.


A second day in Trier starts with a drive to the outskirts of the city to visit the Abbey of St Matthias with the only Apostle’s tomb north of the Alps. We have private admittance (subject to confirmation) to the inner sanctum of this still-working abbey to visit the beautiful cloister, marvel at a Byzantine reliquary of the Holy Cross and descend into the mausoleum of a Roman noblewoman. We return to central Trier to visit the Rheinisches Landesmuseum containing a collection of Roman artefacts unique in scale, diversity, and quality. Imposing burial monuments, a multitude of coloured mosaic floors and spectacular glassware illustrate Roman life and activity on the Moselle. The collection also contains outstanding mediaeval sculpture and architectural elements from Trier churches and abbeys. Another highlight of this tour is the Treasury of the Trier City Research Library. It holds rare books of the greatest value and international status including the Carolingian Ada Evangeliary, the Ottonian Codex Egberti and an illuminated copy of Gutenberg’s Bible. The so-called Basilica, built as a magnificent imperial throne room by Constantine the Great, is well preserved and remains an impressive site.


This morning we travel to the city of Luxembourg. Enclosed by a densely forested mountain landscape Luxembourg offers a rich cultural-historical heritage, which we see in our walking tour. The city of Luxembourg rose from a Roman foundation whose artistic wealth is displayed at the Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art. The remains of the Carolingian abbey of Echternach, once an eminent religious and cultural centre, are housed in this museum. By 1307, the royal House of Luxembourg was propelled onto the stage of imperial politics when its kings became Holy Roman Emperors and produced one of the most influential of all Trier archbishops, Baldwin of Trier. We continue to Luxembourg airport for our flight from Luxembourg to London City.


Twin/double share: £1650 per person
Double room for sole use supplement: £180
'No flights' price: £1450 per person
Deposit: £200


  • Return flights with LuxAir from London City to Luxembourg
  • Private coach transfers in Germany
  • Four nights’ bed and breakfast in the 4* Superior Park Plaza, Trier
  • Two dinners and one lunch
  • Guided visits to monuments and museums listed in the programme
  • Services of the Lecturer and Tour Manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes & gratuities for coach drivers & waiters


The four-star Superior Park Plaza, Trier is situated in Trier’s pedestrian zone and is a 5-minute walk from Trier Cathedral. The hotel features a restaurant and lounge bar. The bedrooms include satellite TV, mini bar, telephone, air-conditioning, safe and tea and coffee-making facilities.