Erfurt Cathedral

Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History

Erfurt Cathedral
Erfurt Cathedral

[ source: Wikipedia]

Situated on so-called Cathedral Hill in the center of Erfurt (Erfurt vacation rentals | Erfurt travel guide) is the Erfurt Cathedral, sometimes known as St. Mary's. The cathedral has graced this prominent location in the city for over 1,200 years. Various churches, including a Roman basilica, have been located on this hill since Antiquity. The first minster built on Cathedral Hill was commissioned by St. Boniface in 752. It became the seat of the first Bishop of Erfurt, and the Erfurt Cathedral was subsequently built on its site. Although consecrated in 1182, the majority of the cathedral, as it exists today, dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. At this time, it acquired most of the International Gothic elements that define its facade, and many of the stained glass windows were installed between 1380 and 1420.

Although the Erfurt Cathedral is famous among devout Lutherans because of it being the site of Martin Luther's ordination in 1507, the cathedral is also noted for its artworks and decorative elements. The central spire of the cathedral houses the Maria Gloriosa, which at the time of its casting was considered the world's largest free-swinging bell. Weighing 11.5 tons, the bell is 8 feet in diameter. The main exterior portal for the church is surrounded by a sculptural group depicting the parable of the wise and foolish virgins.

Inside of the Erfurt Cathedral, one can find several works of interest. In the nave is a small altarpiece painted by Lucas Cranach, titled The Madonna and Child with SS Catherine and Barbara. Furthermore, there is a bronze candelabra, commonly known as "Wolfram," which dates from ca. 1160. Shaped like a man, this candelabra is considered the oldest freestanding cast work in Germany. Lastly, before exiting the cathedral, many visitors stop by the tomb of the purportedly bigamous Count of Gleichen and his wives.

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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: Severihof 2, 99084 Erfurt, Germany

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