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 Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.
The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.
In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.
In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.
After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.
In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.
In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.