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 bishop"s seat, and the site of the cathedral has remained there since. The Cathedral was rebuilt in Carolingian times and expanded in the early 11th century, with an approximately 15-meter-wide transept, two towers and an atrium.
In 1156-1172 the edifice burnt twice, and was also rebuilt starting from 1273 in High Gothic style. The three choirs of the new cathedral were ready for use in 1320, while the old cathedral was demolished at the same time. In 1385-1415 the elaborate main entrance to the west was completed, with the most of the new edifice being finished around 1520; the cloister was constructed in 1514-1538.
The cupola at the transept crossing and other sectors were renovated in Baroque style in the 17th century. In 1828-1841 the cathedral underwent a neo/Gothic restoration commissioned by King Ludwig I of Bavaria. The Baroque frescoes were relocated and the cupola demolished, being replaced by a quadripartite rib vault. The towers and their spires were built in 1859-1869. Three years later the cathedral was finally finished, with the completion of the transept gable and the spire (at the crossing), after some 600 years of construction.
The state-run Dombauhütte (Cathedral building workshop) was founded in 1923, for the ongoing oversight, maintenance, and restoration of the cathedral. In the 1980s construction of the crypt mausoleum and archeological exploration of the center nave (partial exposure of a former southern arcade entrance to the atrium of a precursor Roman structure) were carried on.
An unusual feature of Regensburg Cathedral is its separation from the structure of the older cloister. This separation came about when the church was rebuilt and displaced to the southwest of the earlier Romanesque cathedral.
The Erminold Maria is one element of an Annunciation group in the Regensburg Cathedral. It goes back to the so-called Erminoldmeister, who carved and colorfully painted the figure of Mary and the famous laughing figure of the angel Gabriel about 1280. The figures are juxtaposed to one another on the two western pillars at the crossing of the nave. Mary"s right hand is slightly raised toward the angel in greeting. In her left hand she holds a book, into which she is pointing with her index finger.
On the eastern pillars at the crossing are stone figures of Saints Peter and Paul, which were installed in 1320 and 1360-1370 respectively. On the exterior there is a Judensau (Jews" sow) in the form of a sow and three Jews hanging onto its teats. The Judensau faces in the direction of the former Jewish quarter at the Neupfarrplatz.
The All Saints" Chapel in the cathedral cloister was built in 1164 as a burial chapel for Bishop Hartwig II by master builders from Como, in northern Italy. Its interior consists of a more finely articulated triconchos with frescoes from the time of its construction.
Most of the valuable stained glass windows were installed between 1220-1230 and 1320-1370. The windows of the west facade were only completed in the 19th century. In 1967-1968 came the windows of the left chancel, from the hand of the artist Professor Oberberger. He also produced the Pentecost window in the west of the north transept and the clerestory windows in Gothic style.
The silver high altar stems from Augsburg artists and was built in the period between 1695 and 1785. A particular feature is the five Gothic altars of reservation. St. Peter Canisius preached from the stone pulpit in the central nave in 1556-1557.
The Cathedral is also the burial place of important bishops, including Johann Michael von Sailer (1829-1832, memorial built by Konrad Eberhard in the south chancel), Georg Michael Wittmann (1832-1833, memorial also by Konrad Eberhard in the north chancel), and Archbishop Michael Buchberger (1927-1961, likewise in the north chancel). In the western part of the central nave stands a bronze memorial for the Prince-Bishop Cardinal Philipp Wilhelm (d. 1598), the brother of Duke Maximilian I of Bavaria.References:
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.