Today, we are exploring the city of Speyer.
With a beautiful old city center many small streets and beautiful old houses along a lovely little stream, Speyer is one of those places that you picture when you think of Germany.
Located in the center of the old town is the beautiful cathedral .
The imperial Cathedral of Speyer, the foundation of which is in the form of a Latin cross, is one of the largest and most significant Romanesque edifices in Germany.
It was built by the emperors and designated as their last resting place as a symbol of their power. Construction began around 1030 under the Salic Emperor Konrad II and it was consecrated in 1061. Under Heinrich IV renovations and extensions were undertaken. The cathedral of Speyer is the first known structure to be built with a gallery which goes around the whole building. The system of arcatures added during these renovations was also a first in architectural history.
The town fire of 1689 destroyed a large part of the nave, but in 1758 restorations were started and by 1778 it had been restored to its original state.
The Bavarian King Ludwig I commissioned the painting of the interior. From 1846-53 painters of the school of Johannes Schraudolph and Josef Schwarzmann completed the work in late Nazarene style.
From 1854-58 the west-facing front section of the cathedral was rebuilt by Heinrich Hübsch in new Romanesque style.
During restoration in the 1950s, most of the19th century painting was removed, revealing the impressive architecture.
In 1980 the cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage program. The imperial Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Steven is the seat of Speyer′s diocese and a papal basilica.
The crypt is of special interest, since it has retained its original condition to the present day. Being the official church of the Salic Emperors, eight German Emperors and Kings, four queens and a number of bishops were buried here.
Emperor Konrad II, buried 1039
Empress Gisela, wife of Konrad II, buried 1043
Emperor Heinrich III, buried 1056
Emperor Heinrich IV, buried 1111
Emperor Heinrich V, buried 1125
Empress Beatrix, second wife of Friedrich Barbarossa, buried 1184
Agnes, daughter of Friedrich Barbarossa, buried 1184
King Philipp of Swabia, Son of Friedrich Barbarossa, buried 1216
King Rudolf of Habsburg, buried 1291
King Adolf of Nassau, buried 1309
A huge stone basin, with a capacity of 1560 liters, stands on the square in front of the main portal of the cathedral. This font once symbolized the borderline of immunity between the diocese and the city.
The Mount of Olives
The sculpture of „The Mount of Olives“ is located in the south garden, and used to be in the middle of the cathedral′s cloisters. The Speyer sculptor, Gottfried Renn created the present group of figures in the 19th century, since the original sculpture from the 15th century was destroyed.
Dimensions of the Cathedral
Total length of the cathedral: 134 m (from the steps at the entrance to the exterior wall of the east apse)
Width of the nave: 37.62 m (from exterior wall to exterior wall)
Height of the nave at the vertex of the vaults: 33 m
Height of the eastern spires: 71.20 m
Height of the western spires: 65.60 m
Crypt Length: east-west 35 m; north-south 46 m Height: between 6.2 m and 6.5 m
4/1 – 10/31: Mon to Fri 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, Sat 09:00 am to 6:00 pm, Sun 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm
11/1 – 3/31: Daily 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sun 7:00 am, 8.30 am, 10:00 am and 6:00 pm
Open for Viewing: Not open for viewing during religious services. Changes possible in viewing hours on holidays. Admission to the crypt: 2.00 Euro.
Tours: Cathedral tours are arranged by the Diocesan Chapter. Telephone: (0 62 32) 10 21 18 (weekdays 9:00 am – 12:00 noon)
Fax: (0 62 32) 10 21 19
(c) Stadt Speyer – Impressum
Now if you feel like having a nice walk after looking at the cathedral, just cross the big markets are and head down the pedestrian area. There are many little stores and cafes to spend your afternoon in. Indulge in Greek or German culinary delights or just relax with a hot cup of coffee or some fresh ice-cream .
The choice is yours…