Cathedrals in Germany

Meissen Cathedral

The Meissen Cathedral is situated on the castle hill of Meissen, adjacent to the Albrechtsburg castle. It was the episcopal see of the Bishopric of Meissen established by Emperor Otto I in 968. It replaced an older Romanesque church. The present-day hall church was built between 1260 and 1410, the interior features Gothic sculptures of founder Emperor Otto and his wife Adelaide of Italy as well as paintings f ...
Founded: 1260-1410 | Location: Meißen, Germany

Xanten Cathedral

Xanten Cathedral (Xantener Dom) is considered the biggest cathedral between Cologne and the North sea. The cathedral owes its name to Victor of Xanten, a member of the Theban Legion who was supposedly executed in the 4th century in the amphitheater of Castra Vetera for refusing to sacrifice to the Roman gods. This Roman camp is near today's town of Birten. According to legend, Helena of Constantinople recover ...
Founded: 1263 | Location: Xanten, Germany

Lübeck Cathedral

Lübeck Cathedral is a large brick-built Lutheran cathedral in Lübeck, Germany and part of the Lübeck UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1173 Henry the Lion founded the cathedral to serve the Diocese of Lübeck, after the transfer in 1160 of the bishop's seat from Oldenburg in Holstein under bishop Gerold. The then Romanesque cathedral was completed around 1230, but between 1266 and 1335 it was converted into a Gothic-style ...
Founded: 1173 | Location: Lübeck, Germany

Limburg Cathedral

The Cathedral of Limburg is one of the best preserved late Romanesque style buildings. It is unknown When the first church was built above the Lahn river. Archaeological discoveries have revealed traces of a 9th-century church building in the area of the current chapel. It was probably built in Merovingian times as a castle and the chapel added in the early 9th century. In 910 AD, Count Konrad Kurzbold (cousin of the fut ...
Founded: 1180-1235 | Location: Limburg an der Lahn, Germany

Paderborn Cathedral

Paderborn Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Mary, Saint Kilian and Saint Liborius. Today"s cathedral is located in a position that has been occupied by churches for hundreds of years. Charlemagne had a Kaiserpfalz built near the sources of the Pader river. As early as 777 this palace had an attached church. This church, located north of today"s cathedral, served as chapel to the court as well as a basis for missio ...
Founded: 1100-1145 | Location: Paderborn, Germany

Schwerin Cathedral

Schwerin Cathedral was formerly a Roman Catholic cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint John. It was built in Schwerin following the move here of the seat of the Bishopric of the Abodrites, established by Henry the Lion, from the old city of Mecklenburg in the late 12th century. The first cathedral was built of timber. The foundation stone of the stone cathedral of the Prince-Bishopric of Schwerin was laid in 1 ...
Founded: 1172-1248 | Location: Schwerin, Germany

Eichstätt Cathedral

Together with the cloister and the mortuary, the two-aisled Eichstätt cathedral is regarded as one of the most important medieval monuments in Bavaria. The first Roman Catholic cathedral of Our Lady and Sts. Willibald and Salvator was built in the 8th century. It was destroyed during the Hungarian invasions but the church preserved. Parts of this church have been preserved in the masonry. The current cathedral has parts ...
Founded: 1022 | Location: Eichstätt, Germany

Bautzen Cathedral

St. Peter"s Cathedral is an interdenominational church in Bautzen. It is among the oldest and largest simultaneum churches in Germany. The first church was built around the 1000 AD. Near the beginning of the 13th century, a cathedral was built under the supervision of Bishop Bruno II. Between 1456 and 1463, the cathedral that now stands was constructed and named after St. Peter. A fourth nave was added to the ...
Founded: 1456-1463 | Location: Bautzen, Germany

Essen Minster

Essen Minster was formerly the collegiate church of Essen Abbey, founded in about 845 by Altfrid, Bishop of Hildesheim. The present building, which was reconstructed after its destruction in World War II, is a Gothic hall church, built after 1275 in light-coloured sandstone. The octagonal westwork and the crypt are survivors of the Ottonian pre-Romanesque building that once stood here. The separate Church of St. Johann Ba ...
Founded: 1275-1316 | Location: Essen, Germany

Hildesheim Cathedral

Hildesheim Cathedral has been on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list since 1985, together with the nearby St. Michael's Church. The cathedral church was built between 1010 and 1020 in the Romanesque style. It follows a symmetrical plan with two apses, that is characteristic of Ottonian Romanesque architecture in Old Saxony. The cathedral's treasures include world-famous artworks, bronzeworks from the time of Bishop Be ...
Founded: 1010-1020 | Location: Hildesheim, Germany

Osnabrück Cathedral

St. Peter"s Cathedral in Osnabrück is a late Romanesque building and dominates the city"s skyline. The first version of St. Peter"s Cathedral was built in the year 785, 15 years after the diocese was founded by Charlemagne. The Normans destroyed the church 100 years later, and the present version of the church developed only gradually after a fire around 1100. The oldest parts of the present-day churc ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Osnabrück, Germany

Augsburg Cathedral

The Cathedral of Augsburg is perhaps located on the site of a pre-existing 4th-century building, not necessarily a church, whose foundations have been excavated beneath the current level; the site is included within the ancient Roman walls of Augusta Vindelicorum. The first known church in the place is documented from 822, but dating to the late 8th century reigns of bishops Wikterp and Simpert. The edifice was damaged b ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Augsburg, Germany

Fulda Cathedral

Influenced by Roman Baroque architecture, the Fulda cathedral was built between 1704 and 1712 by the renowned architect Johann Dietzenhofer. The cathedral is not only Fulda’s famous landmark, but also the most significant baroque religious building in the State of Hesse. During construction many parts of the previous church, the 9th century Ratgar Basilika, were integrated in the new cathedral. Since 1752 it has bee ...
Founded: 1704-1712 | Location: Fulda, Germany

Hamburg Cathedral

St. Mary"s Cathedral stands in Danziger Straße and was built between 1890 and 1893 to the designs of Arnold Güldenpfennig. The church was erected in Romanesque revival style at the instigation of Bishop Bernhard Höting of Osnabrück, then simultaneously officiating as Vicar Apostolic of the Vicariate Apostolic of the Nordic Missions of Germany, then competent for Hamburg"s Catholics. It was t ...
Founded: 1890-1893 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

Naumburg Cathedral

Naumburg Cathedral is a renowned landmark of the German late Romanesque and has been recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018. The west choir with the famous donor portrait statues of the twelve cathedral founders (Stifterfiguren) and the Lettner, works of the Naumburg Master, is one of the most significant early Gothic monuments. The history of the town of Naumburg begins at the turn of the 9th and ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Naumburg (Saale), Germany

Schleswig Cathedral

Schleswig Cathedral is the main church of Schleswig and was the cathedral of the Bishop of Schleswig until the diocese was dissolved in 1624. After the founding of Schleswig diocese in 947, the first cathedral in Schleswig was built. Today, neither the size nor the location of this cathedral is known. In 1134, construction of a new Romanesque basilica began. The work was only completed around 1200, because an additional n ...
Founded: 1134 | Location: Schleswig, Germany

Minden Cathedral

Minden Cathedral, dedicated to Saints Gorgonius and Peter, is a Roman Catholic church in the city of Minden. From the year 803 AD, when the area was conquered by Charlemagne, it was the center of a diocese and subsequently became the center of a small sovereign state, a prince-bishopric of Minden, until the time of the Peace of Westphalia (1648), when Minden was secularized as the Principality of Minden (which l ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Minden, Germany

Freising Cathedral

Freising Cathedral, also called Saint Mary and Corbinian Cathedral, is a romanesque basilica. An early church was present on the site by AD 715, consecrated as episcopal church by Boniface in 739. A triple nave was constructed in 860 and rebuilt after a fire in 903. The church was completely destroyed by fire on Palm Sunday, 5 April 1159. Construction of the current romanesque building started in 1159 and completed in 120 ...
Founded: 1159-1205 | Location: Freising, Germany

Ratzeburg Cathedral

The Cathedral of Ratzeburg, one of the oldest brick churches of Northern Germany, is a basilica with three naves. Its arches are supported by pillars and it is built in the form of a cross with a choir quadrangle and a halfround apse. The last restoration (completed in 1966) returned the cathedral to its late Romanesque conception, so you can discover most of the unity and integrity of its original design. The cathedral ...
Founded: 1154 | Location: Ratzeburg, Germany

Rottenburg Cathedral

St. Martin"s Cathedral has been the cathedral of Rottenburg since 1821. Its tower, dating from 1486, is its most prominent feature. It was reconstructed in 1644-1655 after a fire in Baroque style.
Founded: 1486 | Location: Rottenburg am Neckar, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.