Top Historic Sights in Regensburg, Germany

Explore the historic highlights of Regensburg

Porta Praetoria

Porta Praetoria, a gateway to the city of Regensburg, dates from 179 AD. Among Porta Nigra in Trier, it is the only remaining Roman gate north of the Alps. Giant blocks of stone were used to construct this gate in the northern wall of the Roman military camp. It survives as a reminder of Castra Regina, the Roman settlement.
Founded: 179 AD | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Regensburg Cathedral

The Regensburg Cathedral, dedicated to St Peter, is the most important church and landmark of the city of Regensburg. It is the prime example of Gothic architecture in Bavaria. A first bishop"s church was built around 700, at the site of the present-day cathedral parish church Niedermünster (St. Erhard"s tomb). Around 739, St. Boniface chose the area of the Porta Praetoria (North Gate of the old Roman fort) for the ...
Founded: 1273 | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Regensburg Sausage Kitchen

The Historic Sausage Kitchen of Regensburg (Wurstküche) is notable as perhaps the oldest continuously open public restaurant in the world. In 1135 a building was erected as the construction office for the Regensburg stone bridge. When the bridge was finished in 1146 AD, the building became a restaurant named Garkueche auf dem Kranchen ("cookshop near the crane") as it was situated near the then river port. ...
Founded: 1135 | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Regensburg Old Town

Located on the Danube River, the Old Town of Regensburg is an exceptional example of a central-European medieval trading centre, which illustrates an interchange of cultural and architectural influences. The property encompasses the city centre on the south side of the river, two long islands in the Danube, the so-called Wöhrde (from the old German word waird, meaning island or peninsula), and the area of the former ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Old Stone Bridge

Steinerne Brücke in Regensburg is a 12th-century bridge across the Danube linking the Old Town with Stadtamhof. For more than 800 years, until the 1930s, it was the city"s only bridge across the river. It is a masterwork of medieval construction and an emblem of the city. Charlemagne had a wooden bridge built at Regensburg, approximately 100 metres east of the present bridge, but it was inadequate for the traff ...
Founded: 1135-1146 | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Alte Kapelle

According a tradition collegiate church of Our Dear Lady of the Old Chapel (Alte Kapelle) dates from Roman times. In the 18th century the Romanesque basilica was magnificently rebuilt in the Bavarian rococo style. Of special interest is the new organ which was dedicated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 during his visit to Regensburg.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Niedermünster Abbey Church

The Niedermünster was a house of canonesses in Regensburg. At the height of its power it was one of the wealthiest and most influential in Bavaria. The church is still in use as the parish church of Regensburg Cathedral. This women's religious community, dedicated to Saint Erhard of Regensburg at its founding and later to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary as well, was recorded for the first time in about 889. However, t ...
Founded: 788 AD | Location: Regensburg, Germany

St. Emmeram's Abbey

St. Emmeram's Abbey, now known as Schloss Thurn und Taxis, was a Benedictine monastery founded in about 739 at the grave of the itinerant Frankish bishop Saint Emmeram. Saint Wolfgang, who was made bishop in 972, ordered that a library be constructed at St. Emmeram shortly after his arrival in Regensburg. An active scriptorium had existed at St. Emmeram in the Carolingian period, but it is not known whether it occupied a ...
Founded: 739 AD | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Scots Monastery

The Scots Monastery (Schottenkirche) is the former Benedictine Abbey of St James in Regensburg. Irish missionaries first arrived in Regensburg in the 11th century, originally setting up camp just south of the city walls. Later the monks purchased a new site outside the western city gate and began building their monastery around 1100. The Church of St. James, a three-aisled basilica with three apses and two east towers, wa ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Prüll Charterhouse

Prüll Charterhouse is a former Carthusian monastery. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Vitus, was established as Prüll Abbey, a Benedictine foundation, in 997 by Gebhard I, Bishop of Regensburg, and his brother Rapoto. In about 1100 the Ottonian church building was replaced by a Romanesque hall church, the first of the sort in Bavaria. In 1484 Prüll became a Carthusian monastery, with the support of Albert ...
Founded: 997 AD | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Prüfening Abbey

Prüfening Abbey was a Benedictine monastery on the outskirts of Regensburg. Since the beginning of the 19th century it has also been known as Prüfening Castle (Schloss Prüfening). Notably, its extant dedicatory inscription, commemorating the founding of the abbey in 1119, was created by printing and is a unique document of medieval typography. The monastery is situated on the western edge of the town of Re ...
Founded: 1119 | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.