Speyer: A Tiny Town with a Big History


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November 24th 2007
Published: March 15th 2008
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Today there is sun, which is a nice change from the usual fog, rain and overall dreariness. It is in the 30s but the sunlight makes it feel pleasant, so we head south to a little town called Speyer. Nestled on the banks of the Rhine River, this town once functioned as a Roman military camp, but there are archeological findings from the area that date back 5,000 years. Speyer is also famous because one of its residents, Konrad II, was elected the king of Germany in 1024.

The first place we visit is the Dom. Work on the Kaiserdom Cathedral, or Imperial Cathedral of Speyer, began in 1030 and it was later consecrated in 1061. It is the largest Romanesque cathedral still in existence and its basement holds a crypt containing eight German kings. It’s certainly not as impressive to me as some of the giant gothic cathedrals I’ve toured, but it was beautiful nonetheless and quite detailed as well. There was plenty of light inside and I liked how there were murals painted below the windows.

Next we take a stroll down Maximilianstrasse, or Maximilian Street. We take a gander at the Town Hall, Trinity Church, Old
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The Imperial Cathedral of Speyer (Kaiserdom Cathedral). Begun in 1030 and consecrated in 1061, the Speyer Cathedral is the largest Romanesque church still existing and its crypt holds eight German kings/emperors.
Mint and the beginnings of the Christmas market which was being set up all down the street. Most Christmas markets won’t start until next weekend. We walk down to the Altpörtel Gate, which is apparently the tallest town gate in Germany. The 13th century gate was quaint, though large at 55 meters/180 feet tall. Then we take a seat in the Dom garden to enjoy some turkey salad sandwiches and oatmeal cookies while a man not too far away plays Amazing Grace on a saxophone.

The Historisches Museum der Pfalz Speyer, or Historical Museum of the Palatinate is our final stop. It’s housed in an old palace, which means the layout is random and difficult to follow. First we come across the Attila und die Hunnen (Attila the Hun) exhibit, and aside from the huge, circular tent replica, which was carpeted and covered in fur, we didn’t see too much of interest before moving on - especially because we didn’t pay for this exhibit and only stumbled into it accidentally. We were glad we’d only paid for the regular entrance anyway, after we found that there were no descriptions of the displays in English. This can make museums a bit difficult since not all the words used in the descriptions are easily translatable. But it was interesting, even if we only understood a small portion of what we were viewing. There were plenty of displays about Speyer as a Roman city and a medieval town, and a great deal of displays related to Konrad II, including his death crown from his burial in the Speyer Dom in 1039. There were also much more modern displays like sketches from the 1920s and photographs from the 1950s, to include photos of the U.S. occupation in Germany.

The sun was quickly losing brilliance and we headed home in the afternoon as it was preparing to set.



Additional photos below
Photos: 33, Displayed: 24


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Speyer DomSpeyer Dom
Speyer Dom

Inside the front portico.
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Speyer Dom

Inside the cathedral.
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Speyer Dom

Inside the cathedral.
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Speyer Dom

Carved chair inside the cathedral.
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Speyer Dom

The front doors of the cathedral.
Dom GardenDom Garden
Dom Garden

In the garden of the cathedral.
Dom SquareDom Square
Dom Square

Building in the cathedral square.
MaximilianstrasseMaximilianstrasse
Maximilianstrasse

Trinity Church, and a Christmas display in front of it that's part of the Christmas market.
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Maximilianstrasse

The Old Mint.
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Maximilianstrasse

Fountain on Maximilianstrasse (Maximilian Street).


15th March 2008

Lil' miss artist
Hey Ro, You've always been a great writer, but I just realized you are quite the photographer too. Perhaps we'll collaborate on an art history textbook in our late middle age;-) I finally understand what it is to visit some place and not be able to translate everything, so I know what you meant when you visited the museum on your Speyer trip. Prior to this past December I've always traveled to Spanish speaking countries, so that was no problem for me. But, translating historic and museum jargon from Russian and Ukrainian...yeah....didn't quite get it all. Still it's fun to see new places!

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