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The “Black Gate” is the name given to the former northernmost city gate in Roman times and the modern day emblem of Trier. This impressive edifice with the arched twin gate structure is roughly 30 metres high and was built from sandstone blocks around 180 A.D. The blocks for the 36-metre-wide city gate came from the nearby Kyll valley. Some of the stones weighing several tons have engravings in them suggesting the identity of the mason.
The name Porta Nigra did not, however, come into being until the Middle Ages. This was probably because the light coloured sandstone had meanwhile become dark – almost black – due to the influence of the weather. The Porta Nigra is regarded as the best-preserved city gate north of the Alps. Today the “Porta”, as the people of Trier lovingly call their Black Gate, belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage Roman buildings.
Those wishing to visit the Porta Nigra can do so on most days on their own. A further tip is to take one of the exciting adventure tours in Trier in which a centurion takes you on the trail of the Porta Nigra's mysteries.