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Trier for All

St Mary's Column

Perched high atop the Pulsberg, St Mary looks out over the Moselle.  The city lies at her feet – and not just in a geographical sense. Every Trier native feels instantly at home as soon as they see the ‘Säulenlissi’ (as she is affectionately known) looking down on them. But in the 19th century, this was not necessarily the case for all locals.

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Because when St Mary’s Column was inaugurated, it was considered a demonstration of Catholic power, designed to show the Protestants which denomination should continue to prevail in Trier. All the same, Trier’s Protestant community began using the basilica for their church services in 1856 – at the personal behest of King Frederick William IV of Prussia. The symbolic act of using Emperor Constantine’s ancient throne room, of all places, for this would be countered by Trier’s Catholic community through an act no less symbolic. Over the next few years, numerous donations were thus used to finance the construction of St Mary’s Column, which, from then on, would be clearly visible to all Protestant churchgoers bound for the basilica. As such, St Mary’s Column was deliberately built in Neo-Gothic style, for the Gothic movement served as a reference to the good old pre-Reformation days, when Luther and ‘his’ Protestants had yet to become known.

Today, this has all long been history. The ‘Säulenlissy’ is for everyone, and is a popular daytrip destination for romantics wanting to enjoy an inimitable panoramic view of the city on clear days or nights. And those wanting to feel like they themselves have a bit of the city at their feet.

A must for: Believers. Non-believers. Hikers. Panorama lovers, and owners of wide-angled lenses.

Tranquillity: 70%
View: 70%
I’m-the-king-of-the-world feeling: 70%


PSSSST! THE INSIDER TIP:
It’s a popular tradition to finance the lighting of St Mary’s Column for a night as a gift to oneself of a loved one. For 5 euros, you can set your preferred date, and the Cathedral Information Office (Liebfrauenstrasse 12) will then send you a document noting the relevant date and recipient. More information can be found here.

Header & 2nd Preview Photo: rgmphotography/shutterstock.com

Opening hours

St Marys Column is freely accessible. However, the last piece has to be put back on foot in any case. In bad weather conditions, the visit can therefore be limited.