Thermal baths at the cattle market

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In front thermal baths, behind (diagonal) Capuchin order ruins
In the middle part of the Roman underfloor heating ( hypocaust )

The thermal baths at the Viehmarkt (also Viehmarktthermen ) in Trier are thermal baths of Roman origin that were located near the forum of the Roman city - the Augusta Treverorum  . The thermal baths get their name from the place under which they were discovered, the so-called " cattle market ".

The cattle market baths and the remains of the Capuchin monastery built on their premises are now protected by a building by the architect Oswald Mathias Ungers and are accessible for tours and events.


The Romans began building the thermal baths around 80 AD. It was the first thermal baths in Trier (older than Barbarathermen and Kaiserthermen ). About 20 years later the construction of the cattle market baths was completed. The thermal baths were designed so that the warm bath received light from the warm south. The cold bath had its windows in the cold north.

The 8,364 m² thermal baths were most heavily used in the 3rd and 4th centuries. After the decline of Roman Trier, the thermal baths were no longer used as bathing facilities and fell into disrepair over the centuries. In the 13th century the spa ruins lost their substance because they were managed as a quarry.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Capuchin Order erected some buildings over the eastern part of the ruin. The order used the remaining area to build a monastery garden , which became the so-called cattle market as a marketplace in 1802 after the abolition of the monastery. The ruins were forgotten, and it was generally assumed that there were only two thermal baths in Trier (Barbarathermen and Kaiserthermen).

Rediscovery and Ungers building

Ungers building above the thermal baths; in front the Roman road axes
Ungers-Bau at night

In 1987 the remains were found while excavating an underground car park and then excavations were carried out in the area of ​​the cattle market until 1994. In the end, the underground car park was only built under a part of the cattle market that had been slightly displaced from the original plans in order to preserve most of the ruins. The building - like other civil engineering works in the city center of Trier - was nevertheless criticized, as it irretrievably destroyed the archaeologically interesting layers due to the depth of the excavation.

The architect Oswald Mathias Ungers designed a protective building with glass facades for the uncovered ruins of thermal baths and Capuchin monastery, which largely has the shape of a large cuboid (often just called "Ungers showcase" by the people of Trier). Today's pavement on the cattle market goes back to Ungers, which traces the position of the Roman road axes in reddish stones. According to Unger's concept, the building he designed should give the impression of an elevator: the pavement had been "raised" along the high supporting pillars, making the ruins below visible. True to this concept, the flat roof of the building is covered with stones and in the pattern of the cattle market pavement (not visible from below).

Ungers is not without controversy in the archaeological world, as he "unnecessarily destroyed parts of the ancient substance to be protected by cutting out and drilling through the masonry when building this" protective structure " . The architect was later also appointed to build the new, monumental entrance area to the Kaiserthermen , for which the northern edifice of the Palaestra that had been preserved up to that point was sacrificed.

The ruins have been open to visitors since June 1998. Especially in the evening, the rooms are also used for various public or private events, such as B. concerts or the annual wine forum. There are also special exhibitions, such as the photo exhibition Herbert Piel Arrival: Rhineland-Palatinate in 2016 .

World heritage issue

Because the thermal baths were only discovered in the early 1990s, they are not on the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage, because the other Roman monuments were added there as early as 1986. For inclusion in the UNESCO list, the entry of the World Heritage Roman Monuments, Cathedral and Church of Our Lady in Trier would have to be supplemented by these thermal baths. Whether this should be applied for by the city of Trier is controversial, because the expansion could be linked to the condition not to hold any more events there, whereby this source of income dries up.


  • Heinz Cüppers : Thermal baths at the cattle market. In: H. Cüppers (Ed.): The Romans in Rhineland-Palatinate. Licensed edition, Nikol, Hamburg 2002, ISBN 3-933203-60-0 , pp. 625f.
  • Sabine Faust: Livestock market: Roman thermal baths. In: Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier (ed.): Guide to archaeological monuments of the Trier region. Trier 2008, ISBN 978-3-923319-73-2 ( series of publications of the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier 35 ) p. 74f.
  • Klaus-Peter Goethert: The thermal baths at the cattle market. In: Roman buildings in Trier. Guide booklet 20, Edition Burgen, Schlösser, Altert leads Rheinland-Pfalz, Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg 2003 ISBN 3-7954-1445-8 , pp. 107–123.
  • Johannes Michael Nebe et al. (1989): The livestock market in the focus of planning and interests . Trier. ISBN 978-3-927628-00-7

Web links

Commons : Viehmarktthermen  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Klaus-Peter Goethert: Thermen am Viehmarkt. In: Save the archaeological heritage in Trier. Second memorandum of the Trier Archaeological Commission. (Series of publications by the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier 31) Trier 2005. ISBN 978-3-923319-62-6 . P. 87.
  2. Arrival: Rhineland-Palatinate August 28th to October 30th ( memento of the original from August 1st, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Website Landesmuseum Mainz exhibitions, accessed on July 29, 2016 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

Coordinates: 49 ° 45 ′ 9.8 "  N , 6 ° 38 ′ 15.6"  E