Bamberg Cathedral - a late Romanesque building with four imposing Towers

Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History

Bamberger Dom
Bamberger Dom

[ source: Wikipedia]

One of the most prominent landmarks in Upper Bavaria is the Bamberg (Bamberg vacation rentals | Bamberg travel guide) Cathedral. The building was completed in the thirteenth century and has functioned as the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bamberg for many years. The church was founded in 1002 by Emperor Henry II, and it was consecrated in 1012. Seventy years later, the Bamberg Cathedral was partially destroyed in a fire. After being rebuilt, the new church was consecrated in 1111. Today the church has a later Romanesque facade, and this form was given to the church during an extensive renovation that took place in the 1200s.

The cathedral is 94 meters long, 28 meters broad, and 26 meters high. The four towers that dominate the exterior are each 81 meters high. The Bamberg Cathedral is noted for the sculptural masterpieces that it contains. One of the most famous works is the tomb of Henry II and his wife, considered by many to be the masterwork of renowned sculptor Tilman Riemanschneider. The tomb took Riemanschneider fourteen years to complete, which he did in 1513. Another major sculpture is the so-called Bamberger Reiter (the Bamberg Rider). This equestrian statue was created ca. 1230, and many scholars believe that it depicts the Hungarian King Stephan I (died 1038). In the south transept, one can find the nativity altar, created by prominent Bavarian sculptor Viet Stoss when he was 80 years old. Also of interest in the cathedral is the tomb of Pope Clement II (1005-1047), the only pope buried outside of either Italy or France.

Although the church was given a Baroque renovation in the seventeenth century, the interior finishes and details mainly date from the 1820s, when the later elements of the church were removed to return the cathedral to its supposedly older appearance. This decision was in accord with the Bavarian King Ludwig I's view of the Bamberg Cathedral as a national landmark, which was given as the reason behind "restoring" the church to its original medieval splendor.

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About this Article

Rachel Hildebrandt

This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.

Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Domplatz 5, 96049 Bamberg, Germany

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