Trier’s Porta Nigra Ready for Restoration
Enlarge image The restoration process commenced with the building of scaffolding in the interior. (© picture alliance / dpa) The Porta Nigra in Trier – a university town in western Germany near the border with Luxembourg – is designated for an overhaul to maintain its World Heritage Site image. The ancient Roman gate is stained with years of exhaust fumes, and the first structural surveys have begun in order to prepare for its repair. The preparatory assessments and the initial restoration plans have cost roughly 1.2 million euros, the GDKE – the organization responsible for monument preservation – said on Thursday. The second-century Roman city gate is the best preserved of its kind in Germany and was awarded World Heritage status in 1986.
Trier is the center of antiquities for the western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, and the Porta Nigra serves as its calling card, said Director Thomas Metz. The damages are particularly heavy on the ashlar masonry, the roof and the decorative relief.
The ancient gate survived over the centuries because it was used sporadically as a church. During the French occupation of Trier, Napoleon arranged for it to be restored to its original structure. The funds, however, were not available until decades later under Prussian rule. Metzemphasized the importance of securing the structure’s frame to keep it as a World Heritage Site for future generations on Thursday.
The last extensive conservation efforts were completed in 1973. The gate will now undergo an even more elaborate overhaul, with scaffolding initially covering portions of the Porta Nigra in order to conduct partial appraisals and to test the first restoration methods, said expert Marion Basten. This phase, she believes, will take one year. It will be possible to assess the ultimate costs and designate an appropriate start date after completing the inspections and details of the restoration plans.