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 10th centuries. It is likely that Markgraf (Margrave) Ekkehard I of Meissen and the most powerful man on the eastern border of the Holy Roman Empire was the founder. Ekkehard's sons founded a small parish church in the western part of the area around the castle in the early 11th century.
In 1029, just to the east of the existing parish church the construction of the early-Romanesque cathedral was begun. In 1044, during the reign of Bishop Hunold of Merseburg, the church was consecrated. Rebuilding of the cathedral started around 1210. Of the old structure only the crypt survived and this lost its apse, but was expanded to the east and west such that it now extends not just under the new choir but also under the crossing.
In the mid-13th century the early-Gothic west choir was added, replacing the old parish church. It was likely finished by 1260. The western towers were raised by one floor shortly thereafter. In around 1330 the high-Gothic polygonal east choir was built, requiring the destruction of the Romanesque apse. Additional floors were added to the western towers in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Dreikönigskapelle was consecrated in 1416.
A fire damaged the cathedral in 1532, destroying the roofs. After that the eastern towers were raised. The fire also destroyed the three-aisled nave of the collegiate church dedicated to Mary next door to the cathedral, of which today only the choir remains.
The copper roofs and lanterns of the eastern towers were added in 1713/14 and 1725/28. Around mid-century the interior was turned into a Baroque church. This was undone by a 'purification' in 1874/78 aimed at restoring the cathedral to a medieval, i.e. Romanesque/Gothic look, even at the price of replacing Baroque items with new Romanesque/Gothic Revival art.
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.