The city, built on seven hills, has the largest intactly preserved old town ensemble in Germany according to payhelpcenter. A thousand years of architecture are visible in today’s cityscape of the Franconian imperial and bishop’s city. The total work of art is dominated by the four towers of the imperial cathedral with its world-famous Bamberg rider, the imperial tomb of Heinrich II and Kunigunde and the tomb of Pope Clemens II, the only papal tomb in Germany.
Old town of Bamberg: facts
|Official title:||Old town of Bamberg|
|Cultural monument:||the largely undestroyed city center with over 2000 listed buildings, including the Bamberg Cathedral with the particularly neat Gnadenpforte and the Bamberg Rider, to the left of the entrance of the George Choir, the old and the new court, St. Michael with the painting in the flat ceiling, which more than 600 domestic and foreign plants are shown in the baroque Palais Concordia and the E. T. A. Hoffmann House|
|Location:||Bamberg, north of Nuremberg|
|Meaning:||a “Frankish Rome” and in the 19th century an important literary and philosophical center|
Old town of Bamberg: history
|902||first documentary mention in the chronicle of Regino von Prüm|
|973||Donation from Emperor Otto II to Heinrich the Quarrel|
|1002-24||Construction of the first cathedral|
|1007||Establishment of a diocese|
|1015||Foundation of the St. Michael Monastery|
|1046||Election of the Bamberg Bishop Suidger as Pope Clement II.|
|1234||Granting of market rights|
|1237||Consecration of today’s cathedral|
|1261-1300||Hugo von Trimberg writes a moral didactic poem with 24,000 verses in the St. Gangolf Abbey School|
|1693-1746||under the bishops from the house of Schönborn rebuilding of the city|
|1807/08||Stay of the philosopher GFW Hegel and publication of the “Phenomenology of Spirit”|
|1808-13||Stay of the poet ETA Hoffmann, author a.o. from »Undine« and the »Fantasy Pieces in Callot’s Manner«|
Encounters with the ghosts of the past
Over a thousand years of history and an almost undamaged city center have made Bamberg a total work of art. The cathedral square is the aesthetic heart of the city. On this square, three buildings from three different eras and completely different architectural styles – the cathedral, the new residence and the old court – have come together in a miraculous way to form a harmonious, almost perfect ensemble. The cathedral consists of a Gothic and Romanesque part. The four towers are arranged in an even rectangle. The Last Judgment is shown above the bishop’s portal.
The interior of the cathedral hides the famous Bamberg rider, who regularly disappoints tourists because they expect a monumental statue, another Gothic sculpture that can be considered a masterpiece of occidental sculpture. Actually, it is a pair of female statues, Ecclesia and Synagogue, symbolizing Christianity and Judaism. The Ecclesia is only partially preserved. The woman, who symbolizes Judaism, is undamaged. She has been depicted blind, blindfolded, and the Torah she wears is broken – medieval anti-Judaism in its purest form. And yet, this female figure is so graceful, so delicate and graceful that it can also be understood as an homage to a culture.
The grave of the imperial couple Heinrich and Kunigunde by Tilman Riemenschneider, on the other hand, dates back to the beginning of modern times. The faces on the reliefs surrounding the grave are depicted in a highly individualized manner, especially in Heinrich’s death scene and the relief that shows Kunigunde and the construction workers. The subtle details are also fascinating, right up to the omnipresent sovereign lion poodle.
Another place that housed living, not dead princes is the old court. In summer, when the open-air festival named after Calderon takes place in Bamberg, the magnificent inner courtyard of this Renaissance building serves as a backdrop that Max Reinhardt could not have wished for more beautiful.
The third building on Domplatz, the Neue Residenz, is a small baroque gem. Originally the seat of the Bamberg prince-bishops, it is now used for representation purposes. The very handsome Kaisersaal serves this purpose. However, the Neue Residenz is almost more interesting from the outside than from the inside. Among other things, this is due to the wonderful view that one has from the rose garden of the Michael’s monastery and the brick-red roofs of the old town with its winding streets. No reason to think of the Napoleonic Marshal who threw himself to his death here; one can die and be buried more unpleasant than in Bamberg.
This can also be said of another city saint, Bishop Otto, whose grave is in the church of the Michaelskloster, a masterpiece of baroque architecture. First of all, there are the stairs to the main entrance, which are the most popular for wedding couples in Bamberg for a reason. If you then enter the church, it is advisable to first look at the ceiling immediately. There are 365 medicinal herbs, painted with loving care and detail, and that is not all that this church can do for the health of its visitors. The stone on which Otto’s grave slab rests has a fairly wide hole. Anyone who arches their back and crawls through should be relieved of back pain for a year.
Visitors to Bamberg are always greeted and bid farewell by the building that can be recognized from afar: the Altenburg. It’s obvious why the romantics who raved about the Middle Ages fell in love with them. ETA Hoffmann even lived there for a while. Hoffmann and Bamberg, that’s a topic in itself, and it may be that he didn’t feel particularly comfortable in Bamberg, but no other city has set him such an original monument: In the Hain (for non-Bambergers: the city park) there is a memorial stone that informs that here, at this point, ETA Hoffmann met the talking dog Berganza.