UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES TRIERThe Kaiserthermen
Trier was already a flourishing trading town when it was elevated to an Imperial residence in Late Antiquity. The construction of the Kaiserthermen, the Imperial baths, thus began in the 3rd century CE and formed part of a major building programme for an Imperial palace district. Since 1986 the mighty ruins have been on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list. Today, amongst other things, visitors can see the subterranean service passages, and a viewpoint offers a view over the original Imperial palace district of the city. In the exhibition area, a film animation illustrates how the city developed into an Imperial residence and tells of the erratic history of the Kaiserthermen. The building can be explored both above and below ground with the help of a multimedia guide, and the history of the major construction project and its significance as part of the Imperial palace district are illustrated for visitors at various stopping points.
The Kaiserthermen were planned as a gift from the Emperor to the population of Trier in the form of a public baths. Construction came to a halt in the 3rd century, then the building work on the Kaiserthermen was recommenced in the 4th century CE. At this time there were plans to use the building as a barracks, possibly for the mounted Imperial guard. During later centuries the Kaiserthermen were converted and used as a castle, as a city wall and a monastery. In the 19th century, excavation works started on the remains of the monument, and then in 1984 several windows in the apse were reconstructed. The Kaiserthermen still form part of Trier city centre today. The building's proximity to the palace assembly hall further demonstrates the huge scale of the former palace district. The Kaiserthermen are currently once again undergoing tests, the aim being to determine whether the decorative and technical fittings of the spa really were never completed, as is believed.