Speyer is another German city founded by the Roman Empire over the river Rhine. Its biggest treasure is hidden just behind these trees.
It is the thousand-years old UNESCO World Heritage Imperial Cathedral of Speyer.
Let's step inside.
Before we enter, you can already notice sculptures representing German kings and emperors of the Holy German Empire.
Ready to enter inside? Let's take the amazing bronze porch.
The uniqueness of the Speyer cathedral comes from the fact that it is the largest Romanesque cathedral in Europe (and since nowhere else people built churches at that time - also in the entire world) which has influenced many of such buildings across the continent.
On top of the high vaults you will surely noticed many pictures representing scenes from the Bible.
Besides the main nave, the cathedral has of course two side naves, almost as tall as the main one.
The main altar is dark and modest, especially if you would compare it to Baroque churches.
And in the back, you will notice a sail-like organ. This one is of course not a thousand years old.
In most cathedrals, this would be the end of our visit. But we still need to go down. And up. First, let's head towards the crypt. It is the biggest Romanesque crypt in the world. It is the oldest part of the cathedral, where its construction has begun.
A total of eight German kings are buried beneath the Speyer cathedral. Four of them were also emperors (only those who were lucky to be in good relations with the pope who would then agree to crown them emperors).
Besides them, the crypt includes seven altars, so that all the priests affiliated with the cathedral can celebrate a mass. In the Middle Ages, the cathedral could have up to seventy priests at the same time.
Now time to go up. After we return to the ground level, we need to take ninety steps to reach the Emperor's Hall just above the main gate. From here, you can see the interior of the cathedral.
You can also admire some of the frescoes by Johann Baptist Schraudolph which were removed from the cathedral for restoration and are currently exhibited in the Hall.
Now, we need take another two hundred and fourteen steps to reach the observation deck on one of the towers. Luckily the stairs are newly (re)built, with concrete and then steel, so they are really comfortable to climb (though not Romanesque at all).
From the observation deck you can see a breath-taking panorama of the city of Speyer.
And the river Rhine as well.
But what impressed me the most is the view of the cathedral itself. From the tower you can fully acknowledge its size.
I hope that you have enjoyed this visit to the Speyer cathedral. Surely an amazing place.