Top Historic Sights in Bamberg, Germany

Explore the historic highlights of Bamberg

Bamberg Town Hall

The old town hall of Bamberg was built in 1386 in the middle of the Regnitz River, accessible by two bridges. According to legend the bishop of Bamberg did not grant the citizens any land for the construction of a town hall. This prompted the townsfolk to ram stakes into the river Regnitz to create an artificial island, on which they built the town hall they so badly wanted. The Old Town Hall"s frescoes never fail t ...
Founded: 1386 | Location: Bamberg, Germany

Bamberg Historic City Centre

Bamberg is located in Upper Franconia on the river Regnitz close to its confluence with the river Main. Its historic city center is a listed UNESCO world heritage site. Bamberg is a good example of a central European town with a basically early medieval plan and many surviving ecclesiastical and secular buildings of the medieval period. When Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, became King of Germany in 1007 he made Bamberg the se ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bamberg, Germany

Bamberg Cathedral

The Bamberg Cathedral is a late Romanesque building with four imposing towers. It was founded in 1002 by the emperor Henry II, finished in 1012 and consecrated on May 6, 1012. It was later partially destroyed by fire in 1081. The new cathedral, built by St. Otto of Bamberg, was consecrated in 1111, and in the 13th century received its present late-Romanesque form. Due to its long construction process, several styles were ...
Founded: 1002-1111 | Location: Bamberg, Germany

Geyerswörth Palace

Geyerswörth Palace is a former prince-bishop"s city palace built in 1585-1587. The current appearance dates from the restoration made in 1740s, after the collapse of Renaissance gable on the north side.
Founded: 1585-1587 | Location: Bamberg, Germany

St. Martin's Church

St. Martin"s Church is located in the heart of Bamberg. Built by the Dietzenhofer brothers, it is Bamberg"s only baroque church. The creation of this church is closely linked with the Jesuits as it was originally constructed as the university church and the church of the Jesuit College. After a construction period of just seven years, the house of worship was consecrated in 1693. The trompe d"oeil dome by ...
Founded: 1693 | Location: Bamberg, Germany

Michaelsberg Abbey

After the creation of the Bishopric of Bamberg by Emperor Henry II, the first Bishop of Bamberg, Eberhard I, founded the Michaelsberg abbey in 1015 as the bishop's private monastery. Accordingly the abbot answered directly to the bishop of Bamberg, and to no-one else. The monks for the new establishment were drawn from Amorbach Abbey and Fulda Abbey. The chronicler and author Frutolf of Michelsberg was prior here until h ...
Founded: 1015 | Location: Bamberg, Germany

Carmelite Monastery

The Carmelite monastery of Bamberg was founded in the 12th century and turned into a baroque style building by Leonhard Dientzenhofer in 1692-1701. The church dedicated to St. Theodor was part of a Cistercian convent, whose nuns devoted themselves to nursing in the 13th century. In 1589, Carmelites moved into the building, that had been deserted in the meantime. Behind the monastery"s baroque facade, the visitor is g ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bamberg, Germany

St. Stephan's Church

St. Stephan"s Church is built on the most eastern of the seven hills. It has been Bamberg"s most important protestant church since 1807. The original building, which was probably donated by empress Kunigunde, was erected at the same time as Heinrich"s Cathedral and was consecrated by Pope Benedict VIII in 1020. Today"s church was constructed in two phases in the 17th century and is based on a Greek cr ...
Founded: 1628 | Location: Bamberg, Germany

Altenburg Castle

Altenburg castle is perched on top of Bamberg"s highest hill and is one of Bamberg"s major landmarks. The castle was first mentioned in 1109 and was used at this time as a refuge. In the 14th and 15th centuries it served as a richly furnished residence for Bamberg"s bishops, but was almost completely destroyed in 1553 by margrave Alfred Alcibiades von Brandenburg-Kulmbach in the second margrave war. The on ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bamberg, Germany

St. Jacob's Church

St. Jacob's church was built in the 11th and 12th centuries outside the fortifications around Cathedral Hill, and was used by numerous Jacob pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Initially, the church was modelled around Heinrich's cathedral and was constructed as a column basilica. In 1771 the baroque facade was added, behind which numerous components from the romanesque period can still be discovered. Inside ...
Founded: 1073-1109 | Location: Bamberg, Germany

St. Gangolf's Church

St. Gangolf is the oldest of Bamberg"s churches and comprises several styles. The parish church, a former convent of canons, was built in the 12th century under bishop Otto the Holy in a romanesque style and converted into a gothic style around 1400. It later received baroque furnishings and today boasts a romanesque nave, a gothic choir, rococo altars and a modern altar, thus spanning many centuries.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bamberg, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.

In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.

The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.

The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.