Gregory Brown
513 Agnes Arnold Hall
Department of Philosophy
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204-3004


Regierungsbezirk (administrative district), western Rhineland-Palatinate Land (state), southwestern Germany. Trier is bordered by Luxembourg and Belgium to the west, North Rhine–Westphalia Land to the north, the Regierungsbezirk of Koblenz to the east, and Saarland Land to the south. The district forms a southern portion of the larger historical region of the Rhineland (q.v.). The Regierungsbezirk takes its name from that of the largest city and administrative seat of the district.

Trier lies in the western Middle Rhine Highlands and is crossed from southwest to northeast by the meandering course of the Mosel (Moselle) River. The principal city of the Mosel valley is Trier, located near the western border. It is an important road, rail, and water transportation centre and a leader in Mosel wine production and trade. Downriver the narrowness of the valley has prevented the growth of large cities and industrial areas. The scenery is dominated by old-world wine villages, castle ruins, and vineyards lining the sunny south-facing valley slopes. The Hunsrück highlands rise south of the Mosel, reaching their highest point, the Erbeskopf (2,677 feet [816 m]), at the southeastern border with Koblenz. The Hunsrück-Höhenstrasse (Hunsrück Ridgeway) runs the length of the range through extensive deciduous forests and many small settlements. North of the Mosel is the wooded Eifel region, comprising the northwestern Middle Rhine Highlands and an eastern extension of the Ardennes Mountains of Belgium and Luxembourg. The region is traversed by the Eifel upland, a rolling plateau of lower elevation situated between the Schneifel and Hohe Eifel ranges. Dairy farming is the chief source of income. The fertile Bitburg land is a southern continuation of the Eifel upland. Together the two provide a transportation route between the Trier basin and the city of Cologne. Nearly three-fourths of the Bitburg between the Prüm and Kyll rivers is devoted to arable crops, most importantly potatoes, cereals, and sugar beets. In eastern Trier the Eifel upland is characterized by funnel-shaped volcanic craters filled by small scenic lakes called Maare. The Eifel upland has traditionally been one of Germany's poorest and most remote regions. More recently a greatly improved road network has increased tourism and made commuting from the fringes to more industrialized regions possible.

The majority of the district's population are of Frankish descent and speak the Moselle Franconian dialect. More than four-fifths of the people are Roman Catholics. The predominant rural settlement pattern is one of irregular, compact villages with some isolated farmsteads in the Schneifel and Hohe Eifel highlands. Area 1,902 square miles (4,926 square km). Pop. (1989 est.) 472,908.

Copyright © 1994-2002 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.


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