The Speyer Cathedral in Speyer, Germany

The Speyer Cathedral in Speyer, Germany is a very large and imposing basilica of red sandstone, and one of the noblest examples of Romanesque architecture now extant. Alongside the nearby Romanesque cathedrals of Mainz and Worms, it is one of the so-called Kaiserdome (Imperial cathedrals) of the Rhineland. A distinctive feature is the colonnaded gallery that goes around the entire building, just below the roofline.

Built in 1030-1061 by Conrad II and his successor, this church has had a checkered history, its disasters culminating in 1689, when the soldiers of Louis XIV burned it to the bare walls and scattered the ashes of the eight German emperors who had been interred in the kings choir. Restored in 1772-1784 and provided with a vestibule and facade, it was again desecrated by the French in 1794; but in 1846-1853 it was once more thoroughly restored and adorned in the interior with gorgeous frescoes at the expense of king Ludwig I of Bavaria.

The large cathedral bowl (Domnapf) in front of the west facade formerly marked the boundary between the episcopal and municipal territories. Each new bishop on his election had to fill the bowl with wine, while the burghers emptied it to his health.

In 1981, the cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List of culturally important sites.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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