Würzburg Cathedral

Würzburg, Germany

Würzburg Cathedral is the fourth largest Romanesque church building in Germany, and a masterpiece of German architecture from the Salian period.

The present cathedral, built from 1040 onwards by Bishop Bruno of Würzburg, reckoned to be the fourth largest Romanesque basilica in Germany, is the third church on the site: the previous two, built in about 787 and 855, were respectively destroyed and severely damaged by fire. After Bruno's accidental death in 1045, his successor Adalbero completed the building in 1075.

The side aisles were remodelled in about 1500 in the Late Gothic style. The stuccoist Pietro Magno decorated the cathedral in Baroque stucco work in 1701.

The greater part of the building collapsed in the winter of 1946 in consequence of the bombing of Würzburg on 16 March 1945. Reconstruction was completed in 1967, in the course of which the Baroque components were removed in favour of a re-Romanisation. The new interpretation emphasizes the contrast between the surviving historical parts of the structure, resulting in a sometimes controversial combination of predominantly Romanesque with modern and Baroque elements. The Neo-Romanesque west front with a rose window, the tripartite gallery and the opening for the clock were combined during the reconstruction with a plain pumice stone wall, and revealed again during renovation work up to November 2006. In 1988 the choir was redesigned by Hubert Elsässer.

The cathedral contains numerous works of art like baptismal font (1279) by Meister Eckart of Worms and impressive series of tombs and epitaphs of bishops, including the monumental effigies of the prince-bishops Rudolf II von Scherenberg (1495) and Lorenz von Bibra (1519).

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