Bamberg Cathedral

Bamberg, Germany

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 used in different parts of the cathedral, particularly the Romanesque and Gothic ones. Between these two styles is the Transitional style, and this is the style which is characteristic of the nave.

The cathedral is about 94 m long, 28 m broad, 26 m high, and the four towers are each about 81 m high. Of its many works of art may be mentioned the magnificent marble tomb of the founder and his wife, the empress Cunigunde, considered the masterpiece of the sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider, and carved between 1499 and 1513.

Another treasure of the cathedral is an equestrian statue called the Bamberg Horseman (Bamberger Reiter). People have tried to guess for years who this knight on horseback really was. During the cathedral’s history people have often made up stories about who he was. The Romantics thought he was a German emperor from the Hohenstaufen family. The Nazis thought he was a knight who symbolized German perfection, looking towards the east for new lands to conquer. This was Nazi propaganda. The knight on the statue does not, in fact, look east at all. It is now thought that he was probably the 11th century Hungarian king Stephen I. Modern technology has made it possible for us to know what the original colours were, and this has helped scientists to identify him. The sculptor carved only his mask into the sculpture, leaving his identity a mystery.

Pope Clement II (1005–47) is buried in the Bamberg Cathedral. He was the local bishop before he became Pope in 1046, but he died in 1047 after having been pope for only twelve months. Bamberg Cathedral is the site of the only papal burial outside of Italy and France.

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Address

Domstraße, Bamberg, Germany
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Details

Founded: 1002-1111
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Ottonian Dynasty (Germany)

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