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Maastricht is located in the south of the Netherlands, and is also the capital of Limburg province. It is situated on the river Meuse and is about 20km from the border of Belgium and Germany. The name of the city comes from the Latin name Mosae Trajectum, which means "crossing the river Meuse", and refers to the bridge built by the Romans.
Maastricht is considered by some to be the oldest city in the Netherlands, though others consider Nijmegen to be older. Nijmegen was the first settlement in the Netherlands, which obtained Roman town rights (municypium), while Maastricht as a settlement was founded earlier.
By car: It's better, and cheaper, to park your car outside the city centre and walk in on foot or by bus as the city centre is closed to traffic.
By bus: The city operates the Stadsbus communication system ("city bus"), which moves around the city and the surrounding area. You can buy your ticket on the bus.
By bike: In Maastricht, thousands of people choose a bicycle as a means of transport. Bicycles can be rented for just 7 Euro (5 Euro for 18-26 years), but you can always use your own! As is the case in almost the whole of the Netherlands, getting around by bike is a wonderful way to see the city thanks to great infrastructure and separate cycling routes.
It is not certain when the Romans came to Maastricht and when they established a settlement. It is a fact that they built a bridge through Mozha in the first century (AD) during the reign of Emperor Augustus. The bridge was important because it connected Bavay and Cologne. You will be able to find the remains of a Roman bathhouse, granary, houses, and the walls and gate of the Roman camp from the 4th century in the city.
In 1976, the university (Maastricht University) was founded and several European institutions were founded. In 1992, the Treaty of Maastricht was signed, which led to the founding of the European Union and the Euro currency.
Saint Peter's Hill is located south of the city, just on the border between the Netherlands and Belgium, between the Albert Canal (Albertkanaal) and the Meuse River. The name of the hill refers to Peter, one of the twelve apostles.
Archaeologists have found here the remains of an iron fort, some think that the fortress may be the Aduatuka fort, belonging to the Celtic Eburon people, which was mentioned multiple times in the memoirs of Julius Caesar "On the Gallic War." In the Middle Ages, several castles were built on the hill, and their ruins can be found.
Hell's Gate is the colloquial name of the former city gate, which is located opposite the water mill. The monument dates from 1229, and is the oldest of its type in the Netherlands. Until the 18th century, the building was called the Old Gate.
When the city obtained city rights, it meant that it could defend itself with a fortified wall. Hell's Gate was part of the later internal wall. In the nineteenth century, the gate was converted into a studio in which the artist Jef Schipper worked. Nowadays, it is the seat of the foundation that deals with the city's former fortifications (Stichting Maastricht Vestingstad).
The Basilica is a church mainly in the Romanesque style, it stands next to the church of Saint John, which is a Gothic church. Both buildings are located on the main market square, Vrijthof.
Throughout the centuries, the church was visited by pilgrims who also went to the Cathedral in Aachen and the Monastery in Kornelimünster. Nowadays, the basilica belongs to the Maastricht deanery of the Catholic church. The basilica was given the title of the minor basilica by Pope John Paul II during a visit to 1985.
It is also worth paying attention to the artistic values of the building - various styles of architecture, art, and above all sculptures in the Romanesque style.
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