Naumburg Cathedral

Naumburg (Saale), Germany

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.

 

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Details

Founded: 13th century
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Stefan Block (3 years ago)
Impressive cathedral with unique preserved interieur. It shows different styles thus beeing constructed in different centuries. So it can give examples from gotic to Renaissance. The same time, it is impressive due to its consistent apperance over all. Very famous are the statues of the "Master of Naumburg"
Martin D. from B. (4 years ago)
Very interesting visit. It is possible to get an audio guide when entering the cathedral that offers a lot of information.
Janjira Walther (4 years ago)
Beautiful cathedral in a lovely town. It has become another one of UNESCO world herritage site in Germany since  2018. Surrounded by Cafés.
a22111977 (4 years ago)
Simply beautiful cathedral. But I did not go inside.
Tim Bilbrough (5 years ago)
I was pleasantly surprised by my experience here. I didn't expect much from the place. However we had a great tour guide for our group. He was clearly very passionate and knowledgeable and it came across. His stories and knowledge about the church and the way he presented it was great. Would highly recommend a tour!
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