Bamberg Cathedral

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Bamberg Cathedral
UNESCO world heritage UNESCO World Heritage Emblem

Bamberg Cathedral (general view)
Bamberg Cathedral (general view)
National territory: GermanyGermany Germany
Type: Culture
Criteria : (ii) (iv)
Reference No .: 624
UNESCO region : Europe and North America
History of enrollment
Enrollment: 1993  (session 17)
Bamberg Cathedral as seen from Geyerswörth Castle
Location of the Domberg in Bamberg's old town
Model of the Toompea; Cathedral on the left, residence on the right
Location on Toompea
Floor plan (core area yellow)

The Romanesque Bamberg Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Georg is one of the German imperial domes and, with its four towers, is the dominant structure of the Bamberg Old Town World Heritage Site . It stands on the prominent elevation of Toompea , which has other historical buildings. Inside, next to the Bamberg rider, there is the grave of the only canonized imperial couple of the Holy Roman Empire and the only papal grave in Germany and north of the Alps.

In addition to the three pilgrimage basilica Marienweiher , Vierzehnheiligen and Gößweinstein , Bamberg Cathedral is the fourth minor basilica of the Archdiocese of Bamberg .



  • Since around 600 AD, settlement began on Toompea
  • The Babenburg was first mentioned in 902
  • 1004 Foundation stone laid by King Heinrich II.
  • 1007 Bamberg became a diocese
  • 1012 consecration of the first cathedral; On the occasion of this date, the 1000th anniversary of the cathedral took place in 2012
  • 1020 First mention of the cathedral choir; 1256 official confirmation of the cathedral choir by Pope Alexander IV.
  • 1046 the second Bamberg Bishop Suidger became Pope Clemens II ; his grave in Bamberg Cathedral is the only preserved papal grave north of the Alps
  • 1081 first big fire in the cathedral
  • 1087 provisional reconstruction
  • 1185 another big fire and demolition
  • 1237 renewed consecration of the cathedral; on this basis, the 750th anniversary of the current cathedral took place in 1989
  • 1415 mention of the first cathedral organ; today's cathedral organ dates from 1976
  • 1611 beginning of the Baroque era ; continued after the Thirty Years War
  • 1803 secularization (dissolution of church property)
  • 1818 Bamberg became an archbishopric: in addition to Bamberg, the church province also included the dioceses of Eichstätt , Speyer and Würzburg
  • 1829 Start of purification (style adjustment) on the initiative of the Bavarian King Ludwig I.
  • 1900 Ceremonial unveiling of the Prince Regent Luitpold equestrian statue on the terrace in front of the cathedral in the presence of Prince Ludwig and Bamberg's Archbishop Joseph von Schork
  • 1923 Pope Pius XI gave the cathedral the title of Basilica minor with the Apostolic Letter Anno reparatae
  • 2007 Celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the diocese
  • 2012 Celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the cathedral


George , Peter and Mary with baby Jesus at the Marienpforte

The patronage or patronage of the cathedral was deliberately chosen in order to emphasize what connects the Eastern and Western Churches :

Cathedral founder

St Stefanus (left), Kunigunde (center) and Heinrich II at the Adam's Gate
Heinrich II. And Kunigunde as donor figures with a model of Bamberg Cathedral

The future Emperor Heinrich II. Was placed in the care of the Bishop of Freising at the age of five and later attended the renowned cathedral school in Hildesheim . He received further education from the bishop of Regensburg, St. Wolfgang . He had received a comprehensive education and could compete with most clergy, but was far more educated than most rulers of his time, who often could not even read or write.

After the death of his father in 995 he was named Heinrich IV Duke of Bavaria. When Emperor Otto III. died in 1002 on a trip to Italy without an heir, Heinrich had the funeral procession stopped on its way through Bavaria and took the imperial insignia . Then he sat, unnoticed by his opponents, the Mainzer archbishop Willigis anoint as king. He then had his wife Kunigunde crowned queen in Paderborn . Twelve years later, in 1014, the two were then crowned emperors in Rome. This means that Heinrich founded Bamberg Cathedral not as an emperor, but as a king. He was duke from 995 to 1002 , king from 1002 to 1014 and emperor from 1014 to 1024 .

Heinrich had a particular fondness for Bamberg, and he gave the Babenburg to his wife as a widow's residence. Would because he soon realized that his marriage childless stay, decided Henry to build in Bamberg a bishopric, should be incorporated into the property and in the souls measure should be read to him. In order to be able to found this new diocese, he released areas from the dioceses of Würzburg and Eichstätt , even if this was not permitted under canon law. Heinrich promised Bishop Heinrich von Würzburg , as compensation for raising his diocese to an archbishopric . This was also not permissible under canon law; the Pope was the only one entitled to such a right. Heinrich finally broke the justified resistance of the Frankfurt Synod of 1007 by putting the participating bishops under moral pressure with gestures of humility.

Heinrich died in 1024 in the Palatinate Grona near Göttingen and was buried in Bamberg Cathedral as requested. In 1146 he was for the Christianization of the Western Slavs , but above all for the establishment of the diocese of Bamberg by Pope Eugene III. canonized. The Pope's canonization bull reads:

"But now we have learned a lot [...] about his chastity, about the foundation of the Bamberg Church and many others, also about the restoration of episcopal seats and the various generosity of his donations, about the conversion of King Stephen and all of Hungary, brought about by him God's help, over his glorious death and over several miracles after his death, take place in the presence of his body. We consider it particularly noteworthy that after receiving the crown and scepter of the kingdom he did not live imperially but spiritually and that he preserved intact chastity until the end of his life in a legitimate marital union, like few people. "

Empress Kunigunde was canonized only in 1200. There are many legends about this canonized imperial couple. Above all, their childlessness was seen as evidence of a chaste marriage ( Joseph's marriage ). Kunigunde was an important advisor to her husband during her lifetime and was the sole regent of the Holy Roman Empire for six weeks after his death . In this function she was able to enforce the election of Salier Konrad II . Then she withdrew to the Benedictine monastery of Kaufungen in Hessen and devoted herself to nursing.

The first cathedral (Heinrichsdom)

This is what the first cathedral could have looked like inside (Bamberg, St. Jakob ).
Bamberg Cathedral, interior view
Original part of Heinrichsdom: one of the two "cathedral toads"

The predecessor of today's Bamberg Cathedral, the so-called Heinrichsdom, was commissioned in 1004 by Emperor Heinrich II the Holy , founder of the Bamberg diocese . It was erected on a hill above the foundations of the chapel and the cemetery of the former Babenburg , which Heinrich had inherited from his father Heinrich the brawler . It did not have an exact east-west orientation, and since the future buildings were always based on what was already there, the north-east-south-west orientation was maintained for a thousand years.

In the year 1007 Bamberg became a diocese , with which the church building was enormously upgraded. On May 6, 1012, the birthday of Henry II, the cathedral was consecrated in the presence of 45 bishops and other dignitaries in honor of the apostle Peter , the Virgin Mary and St. George . These patrons were retained. All the archbishops of the Holy Roman Empire were present at the consecration of the cathedral, with one exception. This underlines the importance of the new building, because no other cathedral consecration in the Middle Ages saw so many bishops present.

The Heinrichsdom stood in the tradition of the great cathedrals of the 11th century, but was rather modest compared to the Mainz Cathedral (116 meters) and the Speyer Cathedral (134 meters) with a length of only 75 meters. Instead of four towers, it had only two that flanked the east choir. The cathedral was a three-aisled pillar basilica with a transept and main choir. All the ceilings were flat and made of wood. Two low towers stood on the east side. A semicircular apse formed the end .

In the course of investigations by the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation in 2012, extensive remains of the Heinrich Cathedral's wall were discovered in a long-unused room on the upper floor of the Gertruden Chapel between the transept and the south aisle. Decorative joints from the construction period have been preserved in the roof areas. Furthermore, remains of the west crypt from the first cathedral, in which a modern bishop's burial place was created, are still preserved.

The Jakobskirche , consecrated 100 years later, a little above the Domberg gives an idea of ​​what Heinrichsdom might have looked like . It was also a three-aisled columned basilica and was only slightly changed during the Gothic and Baroque periods.

The cathedral in the late 11th and early 12th centuries

At Easter 1080 the partisans of King Heinrich IV met for a synod in Bamberg Cathedral. When the roof and towers burned down on Easter vigil of the following year, the supporters of Pope Gregory VII saw it as a punishment from God because of the synod's attitude in the investiture dispute . (Henry IV. Was the king who went to Canossa in 1077. )

Hardly anything has been preserved from the above-ground parts of Heinrichsdom. The cathedral burned down in 1081 and the valuable furnishings were destroyed. The damage to the building structure is likely to have been limited. As the archaeological excavations inside the cathedral have shown, no completely new building was built after the fire in 1081. Only the damaged parts of the cathedral were repaired to such an extent that a synod under Bishop Rupert could already be held in Bamberg in 1087 . Essential work to restore the equipment destroyed in the fire was only carried out under his successor, Bishop Otto . Otto was well versed in building issues, as he had already directed the renovation of the Speyer Cathedral . Now the cathedral got a new floor, the pillars damaged by the fire were decorated with stucco. Otto also had the east choir raised and the roofs covered with expensive copper to reduce the risk of fire. Tower crosses and spiers were gilded.

Hardly anything has survived from the liturgical use of the cathedral. The few reports, however, correspond to the usual order of worship of the late Middle Ages.

The medieval cathedral served exclusively the cathedral chapter and the cathedral vicars . The cathedral clergy used the east choir for the hourly prayers, which take place several times a day, as well as for church services. The choir areas were exclusive parts of the room, which were separated by three to four meter high rood screens and protected the clergy from interference. Processions within the cathedral were also part of the cathedral liturgy. Occasionally, the parades led from the cathedral through the cloister to the Sepultur , or from the cathedral to the Stephanskirche , the Jakobskirche , the Gangolfskirche and the Benedictine monastery of St. Michael .

The second cathedral (traditionally called Ekbertdom)

Bamberg Cathedral on a painting by Wolfgang Katzheimer

After another big fire in 1185, a new building was planned. It is not entirely certain when this started. In the meantime, however, it is assumed that construction began (around 1190/1200) than is represented in the older specialist literature. The initiator of the new building would have been the Andechs-Meranier bishop Otto II. (IV.) . This second, larger cathedral was solemnly consecrated on May 6, 1237, the birthday of Emperor Heinrich II.

The sanctity of the place should be preserved in the new building. That is why it was planned in the same place. In order to be able to continue celebrating church services, the demolition and the new building were coordinated so that there was always room for solemn services in the cathedral. Demolition started in the east and the resulting demolition material was reinstalled. Since the completion of construction in the 13th century, nothing essential has been changed in the architecture of the cathedral. The development was different inside.

Emperor Heinrich was canonized as early as 1146. Bishop Timo campaigned for Empress Kunigunde to be canonized. This canonization took place on March 29, 1200 and was remarkable because very few women who were not martyrs were canonized in the Middle Ages. Timo probably wanted this solemn event to take place in the new cathedral and by this time the east apse was probably already finished to the point where an altar could be erected in honor of Kunigunde. A small round window on the George Choir reminds of this today, behind which the reliquary bust of Kunigunde was probably located.

The Bamberg regicide in 1208 interrupted construction work on the cathedral for a few years. Philipp von Schwaben was murdered on June 21, 1208, shortly before his election as emperor, in the old court of the Bavarian Count Palatine Otto VIII von Wittelsbach . In the annals of Marbach for the year 1208 it says:

“When the aforementioned Count Palatine, as he had long since resolved the evil deed in his heart, came over, desired and received admission. Here he drew his sword, pretending to be playing like a buffoon, but when the opportunity arose he wounded the king in the region of the neck and immediately fled. And as a result of this wounding he lost his life "

Bishop Eckbert fled to King Andrew II. , His brother, to Hungary, because he for outlaws had been declared. He owed his rapid rehabilitation to his diplomatic efforts and so he was able to return to his diocese as early as 1212.

When work on the cathedral was resumed years later, the cathedral chapter decided to change the architecture. This change in style towards the early Gothic is probably related to the Bamberg Bishop Eckbert von Andechs-Meranien and his international relations. His sister Agnes-Maria (Agnes-Maria von Andechs-Meranien; † 1201) had married the French King Philip II , called Philippe-Auguste. This may explain why there was a construction works in Bamberg around 1220 that was familiar with the development of French art at the time.

The Erfurt yearbooks report for 1237:

“Hoc anno pridie Nonas Maii in Babenberc dedicatum est monasterium from his episcopis: Erbipolense, Eystatense, Nuwenburgense, Merseburgense; domino papa ibidem magnam faciente indulgentiam. ”

“In that year, on the day before the Nones of May, the cathedral in Bamberg was consecrated by (the following) bishops: the Würzburger, the Eichstätter, the Naumburger, the Merseburg. The Pope had granted a great indulgence for this . "

What is striking is the loss of importance the cathedral suffered during this consecration. While 45 patriarchs, archbishops and bishops were guests at the first consecration of the cathedral in 1012, the source now mentions only four consecrators .


Baroque cathedral

After the end of the Thirty Years' War, the cathedral was redesigned in Baroque style under Prince-Bishop Melchior Otto Voit of Salzburg .

The renewal of the Catholic Church, which came from the Council of Trent , was artistically expressed in the Baroque style . The Bamberg Cathedral Chapter was initially hesitant in implementing the new artistic trend, but in 1678 almost all 30 altars were baroque.

Contrary to popular belief, the cathedral was completely colored in the Middle Ages. But soiling from candle soot and dust as well as peeling paint made it necessary to paint over and over again. Therefore, apart from a few remains, nothing has been preserved from the original painting. The changing aesthetic ideas also contributed to constant redesign. Remains of up to twelve coats of paint were found in hard-to-reach places.

The layer structure of the colors was analyzed on the right capital of the northern blind arcade in the east choir. The following layers were found:

  1. stone
  2. white (primer)
  3. green
  4. New version white (primer)
  5. ocher
  6. New version white (primer)
  7. shining ocher

On May 10, 1611, the cathedral chapter decided that “the stones should be rubbed off and replaced, but not whitened” . A decisive decision was to remove the colored glass windows. Literally it says in the episcopal letter that “the upper windows on the city desess colored and melted with light glass are to be replaced” .

The last remnant of the baroque furnishings is the gilded cross altar by the Flemish artist Justus Glesker in the west choir. This crucifixion group with Christ on the cross, Maria, Johannes and Maria Magdalena originally stood at the imperial tomb. In 1837 it was sold as part of the purification and in 1917 it was repurchased from private ownership for the cathedral.

Purification (stylistic adjustment)

Indoor (1837)
Bamberg Cathedral (1880)

In the 1830s, the Bavarian King Ludwig I wanted to restore the cathedral to its original Romanesque style and ordered various purifying reconstructions, in which the important architect Friedrich von Gärtner played a key role. These measures, which contributed to the preservation of the cathedral, corresponded to the romantic spirit of the time, which was enthusiastic about the so-called pure Middle Ages without additions from subsequent stylistic epochs. But they also contributed to the impoverishment of the building, as its historicity was reduced to an idealized Middle Ages. The removal of the paint led to a dissection of the architecture and a frosty impression of the room. In 1837, cathedral dean Friedrich Brenner described the purified cathedral as " too cold, frosty, monotonous and not in keeping with the splendor of Catholic worship" .

In 1826 Ludwig I wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Bamberg, Joseph Maria Freiherr von Fraunberg , in which it says, among other things:

“When I visited the Archbishop's Metropolitan Church in Bamberg earlier, it struck me unpleasantly that this magnificent, large monument of the German architectural style had received some disfigurements and renovations that contradict the sense of art. In order to improve this, and to restore the undisturbed sight of this sublime temple in the spirit of pure style, it is My wish that the great disfiguring altar be removed; then the white paint on the church is rubbed down to the trace, so that the stone appears in its natural color, the same that the oil paint with which the statues were whitewashed would be chiseled off if it could not be removed in any other way. "

Typical Romanesque style elements: scroll friezes, diamonds and arched friezes

King Louis was of the view that the time when Byzantine called Romanesque architecture, but also the Gothic architecture was a German art development and therefore is particularly apt to promote national identity. Therefore, at the request of the king, the Bamberg Cathedral, which was believed to be the original building of Emperor Heinrich II, was to be "restored" to its medieval state as a national monument. Even if the scholars already knew that Greek architecture was largely painted in color, multicolored architecture was still not part of the accepted aesthetic.

The renovation work began on May 30, 1829. Walls, vaults, capitals, sculptures were washed off and damaged areas were repaired. They ended on August 25, 1837, the birthday of King Ludwig I, with a solemn inauguration, but not even a member of the royal family attended, because the king had obviously lost interest in Bamberg Cathedral and was now devoting himself to the redesign of the Speyer Cathedral .

Opinions on the result of the restoration were divided. Of course, ordinary believers were not satisfied with the result, but the educated public was also reluctant to undertake the restoration. Interesting is a note by Sulpiz Boisserée , a friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , who noted in his diary on October 17, 1839:

“Complaints about the restoration of the cathedral. Roughness when removing the tombs of the prince-bishops and canons etc. Vandalism against the wig style and ignorance in relation to cult and church antiquities. "

With “wig style” Boisserée meant the baroque style because of the allonge wigs that were common at that time.

After the Second Vatican Council

Central nave (2008)

The revival of the concelebration (joint leadership of an ecclesiastical liturgy by several priests) after the Second Vatican Council made the multitude of altars at which each priest celebrated alone superfluous. A church should now have only one altar again.

Another innovation of the council was the replacement of the high altar , which lay at the front in the apse from the nave of the church . The western central nave has been modified so that the new popular altar is placed there on a pedestal.

The episcopal seat (cathedra) was placed from the east choir in the middle of the west choir - in front of the tumba of the papal tomb.

Architecture and equipment

View from the west
  • Overall length: 99 meters (east choir: 30 meters, central nave: 37 meters; west choir: 28 meters)
  • Width overall: 28.50 meters
  • Height over everything: 25.50 meters
  • Height of the east towers: 76 meters
  • Height of the west towers: 74 meters

Like several other Romanesque churches, Bamberg Cathedral has four towers of roughly the same height and a choir at each end . At first glance, this results in a biaxial symmetry . However, the transept next to the western pair of towers shows the west choir as the main choir. Most of the old churches have the main altar in the east, but St. Peter in the Vatican has always had it in the west, as has the Mainz Cathedral .

Towers and portals

The previous building of today's cathedral only had two squat towers.

East towers

eastern pair of towers and eastern choir

The current towers in the east are purely Romanesque architecture. In 1766 the spiers were redesigned and got their present appearance. The two east towers were also given almost the same height as the west towers by adding one story. At the same time, the roof turret on the central nave was removed, which changed the exterior of the cathedral.

Small Romanesque round windows can be seen in the towers above the two portals, which belong to the two former tower chapels consecrated to Saints Kilian and Nicholas. They were obviously in use until the cathedral was baroque, but were then profaned. Nevertheless, the altar stones with embedded relics have been preserved. They are believed to date from the 13th century and are the oldest preserved altars in the cathedral. Both chapels open to the side aisles of the cathedral via arched openings.


The two eastern towers house a total of ten church bells .

In the northeast tower, the so-called Heinrichsturm , hang the two legendary imperial bells .

The Kunigunden bell (approx. 1185–1237) is the largest still existing beehive bell.
  • The Kunigunden bell was probably cast in the period between 1185, after the fire in the cathedral, and the final consecration of the cathedral in 1237. It has a characteristic sound that barely allows the actual strike note to emerge. Of the few preserved late beehive bells , it is the largest still in existence. The hole mentioned in the Kunigunden restage is called the "Forame" n and is a characteristic of the so-called Theophilus bells . But in contrast to these, the Kunigunden bell has already been demonstrably formed according to the later invented jacket lifting process. It has a characteristic, colorful sound; a clear height of the striking note is hardly recognizable. Before the bells were electrified in 1937, six people had to ring the bell. The Kunigunden bell is rung every Thursday evening outside of Holy Week after the apostle bell and the armies bell for Christ's agony on the Mount of Olives.

    According to Elisabeth Roths, the origin of the Kunigunden restage does not go back to the 19th century:

“On the evening before a festival day, Heinrich and Kunigunde went for a walk just outside the Bamberg city walls. After a while they settled in a clearing, which from then on was called Kunigundenruh. As they sat and rested there, the cathedral bells began to ring to herald the feast day. Two of these bells were donated by Heinrich and his wife. The two immediately began to argue which bell sounds nicer. When the emperor was silent and had given up in resignation to end the dispute, Kunigunde, who had already gotten so involved in the dispute that she ignored her husband's efforts for peace, furiously hurled her ring towards the cathedral to show Heinrich that her bell was the better one, and she exclaimed: 'If this ring hits my bell here, it has been proven that it is the better sounding one!' Her ring, which she had thrown with immense force, spurred on by the anger, actually struck her bell and broke through the ore, so that she now had a hole as large as the ring. The sound of the bell that was struck, however, remained unchanged, pure and beautiful. Heinrich was silent and sighed because, as always, he was left behind. "

  • The Henry Bell , with its weight of about 5 tons, the largest and heaviest bell, which have the cathedral towers probably ever home. It was cast in the Gothic bell shape that is still common today and is said to be one of the most beautiful sounding bells of the Middle Ages. In contrast to the Kunigunden bell, it is dated exactly to the year 1311. At that time, it was an achievement demanding the greatest respect to be able to cast such a colossal bell technically alone. Every Friday at 3 p.m. outside of Holy Week, the Heinrichs bell is rung at the hour of Christ's death. Until 1937 six to eight bell ringer were responsible for the Heinrichsbell. Together with the Kunigunden bell, it is only rung on high feast days according to an old tradition.

The other eight bells are housed in the southeast tower.

  • The bell, known today as the Army Soul Bell, was once called Campana Capituli . It was the chapter bell of the cathedral and called to the meetings of the cathedral chapter. It is one of the heaviest bell constructions known from the Middle Ages and weighs about five times as much as a normal sized bell of the same pitch. Due to this heavy construction it has a full, silvery sound of inimitable charm. With the Heinrichs bell, the armies bell is probably the most beautiful voice in the cathedral bell. It rings every evening after the angelus bell for intercessory prayer for the poor souls .
  • The measuring bell is the smallest bell in the cathedral. It hung in the former roof turret in the middle of the nave roof until 1745, and when the roof turret was removed it ended up in the southwest tower by 1972.
  • In 1735 the Marian or half-hour bell, cast in 1336, broke. In the same year, the Bamberg master Johann Ignatius Höhn cast a new Marienbell from the broken pieces . The colored sound structure gives it an unmistakable timbre . In 1807, the three-quarter bell, the vigil bell and the catechesis bell were sold as part of the secularization . Thanks to the energetic efforts of the bishop at the time, the Marienglocke was spared from secularization.
  • The apostle bell from 1886 replaced the St. Jorgen bell or campana quietis (popularly known as the "sleeping bell") that was probably cast in 1459 by the Nuremberg bell caster Conrad Gnotzhammer the Younger . It is the lowest voice in the cathedral bell and is rung daily in the morning, at noon at 12 noon and in the evening to the angel of the Lord .
  • The Georgsglocke , Petersglocke , Otto and Michaelsglocke were cast by the Rudolf Perner bell foundry in Passau in 1972 to compensate for the losses from secularization and to relieve the valuable old stock. Together with the apostle bell and the Marien bell, they form a uniform bell and allow a greater number of combinations that can be distributed over the various occasions and services in the cathedral church.

The list is sorted by pitch of the bells.

No. Surname Casting year, casting time Foundry, casting location Diameter
( HT - 1 / 16 )
1 apostle 1886 Friedrich Hamm, Frankenthal 1655 ≈2430 h 0 +5 Southeast Tower, below
2 Kunigunde 1185-1237 unknown 1589-1596 ≈3450 c 1 +13 Northeast Tower, above
3 Heinrich 8/13/1311 unknown 1799 ≈5200 c sharp 1 +9 Northeast Tower, below
4th Maria 1735 Johann Ignatius Höhn, Bamberg 1335 ≈1500 dis 1 +5 Southeast Tower, above
5 George 1972 Rudolf Perner, Passau 1090 780 f sharp 1 +10 Southeast Tower, above
6th Peter 1972 985 556 g sharp 1 +7 Southeast Tower, above
7th Otto 1972 822 310 h 1 +11 Southeast Tower, above
8th Michael 1972 653 170 dis 2 +9.5 Southeast Tower, above
9 Poor souls around 1200 unknown 837-844 570 f sharp 2 −1 Southeast Tower, above
10 Fair around 1300 unknown 591 ≈200 gis 2 -7 Southeast Tower, above

The historic cathedral bell also included a lauding bell, which, like the army donkey bell, was cast by an unknown caster around the year 1200. The Laudes bell was sold by the cathedral chapter to Zapfendorf in 1545 , where it still rings today (hence: Zapfendorfer bell). It is an almost identical counterpart to the armies bell of the cathedral; Both bells came from the same workshop as one of the oldest surviving pairs of bells in southern Germany. The bell has a diameter of 745 mm, weighs about 400 kg and has the strike tone G sharp 2 (−5).

Cathedral clock
Cathedral clock

Tower clocks were the first mechanical clocks. They were used to divide the time for prayer and the division of the working day. The cathedral clock on the north-east tower was the most important chronometer for the city of Bamberg until 1954 . The time has been announced audibly by the cathedral bells since the 16th century. The first mechanical clock from 1529 had to be replaced as early as 1562. The second clock, on the other hand, lasted until 1927 and has been in the collection of historical clocks at the Deutsches Museum in Munich since 1929 . The later clock dates from 1937 and was made in Melle- Buer near Osnabrück . Since the 1960s, the striking mechanism and the dials have been controlled by a so-called slave clock made by the Schauer company in Austria. A radio-controlled chime computer from the Perner company in Passau is currently in use, which also controls the chimes and the dials. At the quarter of an hour a Bim-Bam-chime sounds on the bells Georg and Maria . The hours are struck first on the Heinrichs bell and then repeated on the apostles bell.

West towers

Differences in detail: Romanesque (left) and Gothic towers (right)

The west towers are almost copies of the towers of the Gothic Notre-Dame in Laon in northern France , the cathedral of Laon . This applies to the octagonal basic structure, which is presented with pentagonal pillars on four sides. With the Laon cathedral towers, the cows and donkeys looking out of the open corner tabernacles were also taken over. These are recognition for the pack animals that had to transport the stone material. In Bamberg these figures are called Domkühe , probably because they cannot be seen so precisely from below , whereas in Bamberg it is probably not cattle but mules . These mules pulled stones up with pulleys , ran on wheels in the roof and dragged vats of mortar onto the towers. At night they were locked in the so-called donkey stable to the left of the prince's portal . The originals of the sculptures are shown today in the Diocesan Museum.

The basement floors of the west towers are still built in compact masonry with slightly ogival small windows in Romanesque form. The third floor has a different shape in both towers. The following three floors are again designed in the same way, but differ from the east towers: The tower floors are open in high pointed arches, the corners of the masonry in tabernacle-like extensions with four slender columns. The towers thus show the change in style during the more than thirty years of construction. Construction began in the east, where today the Romanesque arches predominate, while the towers in the west are modeled on those of the Gothic cathedral of Laon . In line with the pair of western towers, the eastern towers were also raised by two upper floors.

Adam's Gate

Adam's Gate with reference to the status of the cathedral as a basilica minor (Pope's coat of arms)

The Adam's Gate - it is also called the Red Door - was the main entrance to the cathedral. It was used in everyday life together with the so-called lattice door at the other end of the cathedral. The Adam's Gate is the oldest portal and was only decorated after the completion of the neighboring Gnadenpforte. These are probably the last works by the sculptor's workshop trained in Reims .

This stepped round arch portal without an arch field is decorated by two zigzag friezes running around the entire portal. Six sandstone figures, which were probably intended for the interior of the cathedral, were placed between the zigzag bands, probably during the construction period. Until 1937 there were six figures here, which are now in the lapidary of the Diocesan Museum:

Left side

  • Stephen . Saint Stephen dressed as a deacon was the first Christian martyr . The stones in his hands are an indication of his martyrdom by stoning . He stands next to Empress Kunigunde, who donated the St. Stephen's Church in Bamberg to him . At the same time he is the first martyr to face the first human couple. His feast day, December 26th , was also the birthday of the then reigning Emperor Friedrich II.
  • Kunigunde . Kunigunde is probably seen as a new Maria. Her unbelted robe may be taken as an indication of her virginity . She is holding a model of the St. Stephen's Church in Bamberg, which she donated .
  • Heinrich , the founder of the diocese

right side

  • Peter . The first Pope is one of the church patrons of the cathedral. Peter usually holds two keys, but here he is holding a cross in his hands
  • Eve . Eve corresponds to St. Kunigunde on the opposite side. Incidentally, the figures of the first parents Adam and Eve are the first life-size nude sculptures since ancient times
  • Adam , the first man. The portal was named Adam's Gate after this figure

The path through the Adam's Gate was possibly part of the penitential practice, during which people were symbolically expelled from Paradise on Maundy Thursday and after listening to penitential sermons and public penance they returned to the cathedral in white robes through the neighboring Gnadenpforte.

In the past, the Adam's Gate was the portal used by churchgoers. The meaning of the sculpture program has not been clarified. The question arises, what connects Peter, the first Pope, with the first human couple, Adam and Eve, the holy imperial couple Heinrich and Kunigunde as the founder of the Bamberg diocese and Stephanus, the first Christian martyr. Kunigunde's gesture and Peter's gaze point to Henry II, who is thus honored as a distinguished person. In the Staufer period , the confrontation between rulers and the first human couple was often used to establish secular power as a means of maintaining the order of salvation after the fall of man.

Gnadenpforte (Marienpforte)

Tympanum of the Gate of Mercy

The Gnaden- or Marienpforte in the north-eastern tower were originally only used on special festive days for processions or on particularly solemn occasions - for example when a newly elected bishop moved into the cathedral.

The arched field of the Gnadenpforte shows the knight George, the apostle Peter, the Virgin Mary and the holy imperial couple Heinrich and Kunigunde. In the middle of the tympanum , Mary is enthroned with the baby Jesus. The other figures then follow according to hierarchical ranking and in gradation of size:

right side

Left side

Saint Kunigunde's foot measure
Saint Kunigunde's foot measure

At the Gnadenpforte were forged lion heads, which are considered to be the oldest medieval units of length. This Bamberg cubit was 67 centimeters long, the foot a length of 26.8 centimeters. A cubit was exactly 2.5 feet. Allegedly the latter was the foot measurement of the holy Kunigunde, which consequently would have been almost size 44, which is a bit unlikely for a woman.

The Bamberg Elle and the Bamberg Foot were valid everywhere in the Principality of Bamberg and are the oldest medieval units of measurement in Europe. An example of Bamberg's Elle can still be found today on the market square in the town of Zeil am Main .

One of the two "Dom toads"

The weathered sandstone sculptures of lions stand in front of the gates of Mercy and Adam. Between these two lions - on the cathedral wreath - court was held. The lions get their nickname “Domkröten” from the so-called Gredgericht (from the Latin word gradus for level). The name Domgreden (= cathedral steps) was transferred to the two lions and changed to Dom toads through folk etymology . According to legend, the two toads were sent by the envious devil to prevent the cathedral from being built. At night they buried what was being built during the day, but did not bring the cathedral down. When the dragon that was supposed to help them was banished, the two toads also froze:

“The construction of the cathedral in Bamberg was commissioned to a Greek master. A young man came to him with the request that he would take him as an assistant, since one would certainly get further together than if one had to promote the gigantic work. The cathedral builder consented to the suggestion and entrusted the construction of the Peterthores to the assistant, while he himself took over the Georgenthor. So the two worked restlessly on the work, each trying to forestall the other in the speed and efficiency of the building. But it was soon noticed that the construction of the Georgenthores was going on much more quickly. This annoyed the young man very much, and when he could no longer help himself, he dedicated his soul to the devil, so that this advice should help him. From then on things changed. The Petersthor rose more rapidly, while on the Georgenthor no progress was noticeable; what you could do during the day came back to you at night; for two immense animals, half toads, half lions, crept around the work and subverted the work of the cathedral builder. When the devil thought that he had fulfilled his promise and satisfied the young man's ambitions, one day he invited him to climb with him to the top of the Petersthores and look down at the building from above. The youth followed; when he was now on top, the devil seized him and suddenly threw him down from the heights. "

Under the Adam's portal is an uncut stone on which adulteresses had to do church penance by having rotten apples pelted by churchgoers in mourning dresses with a burning candle in hand and a straw wreath on their heads.

Prince portal

Prince portal
Representation of the Last Judgment in the tympanum of the prince portal

The main portal on the north side of the nave is called the prince portal and is only opened during large processions or when a deceased bishop is carried into the cathedral.

It leads directly to the cathedral square and shows above the lintel a representation of the Last Judgment with Christ in the middle as the judge of the world . Seen from the left of the viewer, the blessedly redeemed are depicted on the right side of Christ, on his left the condemned are bound by a chain. Mary and John the Baptist kneel around the feet of Christ. Between them two dead rise from the graves.

Depiction of the damned on the right half of the tympanum

On the left half of the tympanum , six figures are depicted in the background to the right of Christ, two show a lance, a crown of thorns and a cross as the instruments of suffering, and another brings a king. In the foreground are three laughing people on the left edge, two with folded hands. This group is a popular motif on postcards and other depictions.

On the right half of the tympanum, to the left of Christ, six figures are depicted as the damned, who are being towed on a chain by a naked devil in the foreground on the right. What is noteworthy about this representation is that the damned also include a bishop and a king in addition to a person with a money bag. The convicts of the Last Judgment show faces twisted into grimaces. The dragging devil is also available as a postcard motif.

At the entrance in front of the portal arch, a statue is exhibited elevated on each side, on the left that of Ecclesia, on the right that of the synagogue (today in copies due to the weather, the originals in the interior). The sculptures of Ecclesia and Synagogue , as allegories, reflect the medieval understanding of Christianity as the New Covenant and Judaism as the Old Covenant. While the Ecclesia (Latin: church ) is exalted, crowned and originally presented with a goblet next to a cross, the synagogue is shown with blindfolded eyes, slipping tablets of the law and a broken staff.

Ecclesia, Trumpet Angel and Synagogue

There is a legend about the prince's portal that a girl who was innocently sentenced to death prayed in the corridor to the execution that heaven would free her from her shame. At that moment, tiles fell from the roof of the cathedral and killed them:

“The guard at the Jakobsthore in Bamberg had a daughter of great beauty. Then lustful gentlemen were found to seduce the girl; But she withstood all the whisperings and preserved her innocence. This annoyed Satan, and he brought it to the point that the pure walk was accused of sin in her father. The father believed the false statements and had his own child sentenced to death. When she was brought out and was supposed to perform the penance imposed on the prince's door in the last corridor, she threw herself on her knees and called to the Blessed Virgin: she would like to go to her death, only may the shame of execution be removed from her become. And behold, as she spoke the word, a tile falls from the roof with great force and kills the supplicant. All the people recognized the daughter's innocence, and two statues were placed in memory: the holy virgin and the maiden - this five brick in hand - on the prince's door of the cathedral. "

The original figures of Synagoga and Ecclesia have been inside the cathedral since 1937, where they are protected from the elements. In 2002, casts were placed at the original location.

Another reference to Judaism is shown by the depiction of the apostles standing on the shoulders of the Old Testament prophets, and the so-called eye cutter, who blinds a Jew from above.

In the winter months, the prince's portal is covered with board cladding to protect it against the weather and cannot then be visited.

St. Vitus's Gate

Portals of the cathedral
1 Adam's gate
2 Gnaden gate
3 Prince's
portal 4 St. Vitus's
gate 5 lattice door

The St. Vitus Gate is the least decorated entrance to the cathedral. This access is in the north wall of the transept. The portal wall is divided into three parts, the columns are decorated with calyx and bud capitals, and a quatrefoil is built into the arch field .

The Veitspforte follows the early Gothic Cistercian architecture of the Ebrach monastery , thirty kilometers west of Bamberg. Ebrach Monastery, founded in 1127, was the order's first settlement on the right bank of the Rhine and brought the French Gothic to Germany. Members of the order were called to the various construction sites so often that the Pope had to remind the order of its actual tasks and forbade the loan of monks as builders.

The Veitspforte is named after the St. Vitus parish for the secular residents of the Domburg. The St. Vitus parish had its liturgical center at the St. Vitus altar in the north transept of the cathedral, which the parishioners entered through the St. Vitus Gate. St. Vitus was the patron saint of the altar intended for the lay staff of the cathedral monastery. Today the Veitspforte serves as a side entrance to the cathedral, which is only open during service times.

Rooms and chapels

East choir (Georgenchor)

Sun hole

The high choir is bounded laterally by high walls (barriers) and has a floor area with different levels. The cathedral builder had to keep changing his plans because the concept was constantly changing. Functional columns testify to this back and forth between the flat ceiling and the vault. With a wooden flat ceiling, the risk of fire was considerably greater than with a stone vault. A vault was considerably more expensive. Ultimately, the decision was made in favor of the vault, probably in view of the devastating fires in the cathedral.

A small circular opening can be seen on the outside of the east choir, the so-called sun hole, which did not serve as a window, but led into a cupboard in which the skull of St. Kunigunde was kept. From this opening the healing power of the head relic poured over the city. Achim Hubel said:

“Just the awareness of the existence of the relic behind the opening must have fascinated people and makes it understandable why the east choir is also called 'St. Kunigunden's work '. "

An older explanation points out that on the name day of St. Peter the Apostle , June 29th, the sun should shine for a short time on his main altar in the west choir of the cathedral.


In the three-aisled hall crypt under the east choir there are two identical neo-Romanesque stone coffins with the remains of King Conrad III. as well as five Bamberg bishops who died between 1040 and 1328. There is also a fountain here that is still used today for baptisms. However, for this purpose the cold water must be warmed up. The old well shaft probably existed before the cathedral was built and was then integrated into the crypt.

The crypt under the George Choir is the oldest part of the new cathedral building. The construction of the cathedral began here. It was laid out as a three-aisled hall lower church and is 27 meters long. During excavations in 1969 in front of the high choir, a shaft-like room was found. It was part of the former east crypt, which was expanded by Bishop Otto I after the first cathedral fire and filled with rubble after the current east crypt was built.

Tomb of King Conrad III.

The stone coffin of the Roman-German King Konrad III. from the Hohenstaufen house stands on the north wall of the crypt. He died in Bamberg in 1152 and, contrary to his wishes, was not buried in the Staufer house monastery Lorch , but in Bamberg Cathedral. Originally his grave was next to that of Emperor Heinrich II, which at that time was still in the middle of the cathedral. In 1656 Konrad's bones were buried in front of the west choir at the altar of St. Mauritius, which was later removed as part of the purification in the 19th century, and in 1667 in a box under the main altar of the west choir. At the request of the Bavarian King Ludwig I , Konrad was reburied in the neo-Romanesque stone coffin that had been on the north wall of the crypt in 1845 . This sarcophagus was moved inside the crypt to its current position in the fifth yoke in 1975.

Opposite on the south wall of the crypt is a counterpart to this stone coffin, in which the Bamberg bishops Eberhard I , Egilbert , Timo , Wulfing von Stubenberg and Heinrich II von Sternberg are buried. The inscription on the cover plate of the sarcophagus, according to which the bones of the first five Bamberg bishops rest there, is misleading, as Eberhard I was the first Bamberg bishop, but the other four were the 9th, 13th, 21st and 23rd Were bishop of Bamberg.

Apse painting
Apse with fresco

Since the Purification in the 19th century, the main altar has been in the east choir. Since this is a lot higher than the central nave, the faithful could hardly follow the mass. In order to at least visually emphasize the liturgical center of the cathedral, a design of the apse vault using a mosaic modeled on Ravenna was discussed.

The east choir is built in the Romanesque style, but the fresco in the semi-dome above the apse was made by Karl Caspar in 1928 and shows Christ the judge of the world in the mandorla . After completion, the response was divided: While the supporters saw a great work of art in the painting, the other side saw their opinion confirmed that the task at hand could not be solved anyway. The following motifs are shown in the picture:

  • Middle: Christ with arms outstretched in blessing, over him the hand of God, two deer drinking from a spring as symbols for the God-seeking human soul ( “As the deer thirsts for water, so my soul cries out to you, O God ! " Psalm 41 : 2)
  • Left and right: symbols of the four evangelists (each winged: human for Matthew , lion for Markus , bull for Luke and eagle for Johannes ), on the outside patron saints of the cathedral ( Peter with key and model of the cathedral, George in armor with spear and shield )

The Latin legend at the bottom of the picture reads:

(Translation: I am the Alpha and the Omega , beginning and end, who is and who was, and who will come, the Almighty. )

The choir stalls in the east choir were renewed in connection with the redesign of the cathedral, but the carvings created around the middle of the 14th century were reinstalled.

East choir barrier
East choir barrier
Prophet Jonas (left)
Mary and laughing angel

At the east choir barrier there are plastic representations of the apostles on the south side and the prophets on the north side . Two of them are shown in the discussion about the truths of faith . The prophet Jonah can be recognized by his bald head.

The twelve apostles on the south side are stylistically the older work. They stand for the New Covenant between God and man and hold banners in their hands, on each of which an article of the apostolic creed was presumably written. According to the Doctor of the Church Augustine , every apostle is said to have formulated a sentence on the day of Pentecost , inspired by the Holy Spirit . In the row of apostles there is also the relief plate with the Archangel Michael killing a dragon, which is to be understood as a reference to the Last Judgment .

The artistic design of the row of apostles is still a bit clumsy. The arms and legs appear attached and the feet appear strangely apart. The heads look uniform, without individual features and facial expressions. Some of the folds of the garment run from bottom to top. Originally the apostle reliefs were painted in color. The eastern relief plates show clearly visible remains of paint. The pillars shimmered in gold, the arcades were painted with intricate ornaments and the robes were colored. During the purification of the cathedral, the restorer Friedrich Karl Rupprecht discovered a polychrome version under numerous later paints and even thought of restoring it. The faces, hands, and feet of the apostles were incarnate-colored, and their hair and beards were gray. The relief ground was blue.

The twelve prophets on the north side are stylistically further developed. They stand for the old covenant . On their banners were presumably sentences from the prophecies that point to the New Testament . The bodies increasingly detach themselves from the relief ground and develop into almost fully three-dimensional sculptures. Investigations showed that the reliefs of the prophets were not painted in color. Only vestments, garment hems and attributes of the prophets show traces of silver and gilding. The joy of varying artisanal techniques is shown by drilling holes in shoe straps or pearl trimmings on the hems of clothes.

In addition to the prophets, there are other figures: the so-called laughing angel originally handed the crown of martyrdom to St. Dionysius , who is said to have carried his severed head to his grave . Pope Clement II died on October 9th, the feast day of St. Dionysius. This is probably the reason for his worship in Bamberg Cathedral.

  • The middle female figure is considered Maria .
  • The left, an old woman, is seen as a Sibylle (a prophetess who prophesies the future without being asked), Saint Anne (grandmother of Jesus) or Elisabeth (the mother of John the Baptist ).
  • The figure on the right is the so-called laughing angel.

The figure of Mary and the figure of Elisabeth , who is also called the seer, are said to have been a group of visits. Even if the connection between these two figures is questioned, recent research results on the painting indicate that Maria and Elisabeth were painted differently from all other cathedral sculptures. It is possible that both sculptures were intended to be placed on two adjacent pillars. This would also be an explanation for Elisabeth's body turning. At the moment of her encounter with the pregnant Mary, the pregnant Elizabeth recognizes the mystery of the Incarnation of God like a seer, as it is written in the Gospel of Luke (1.39–46):

“But during these days Mary got up and hurried to the hill country to a city of Judas and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and broke out in a loud voice, saying: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your body. "

Georg Dehio established in the 19th century that the group of visits to the main portal of Reims Cathedral was a model for Bamberg. For its part, Reims sculpture was directly dependent on ancient sculpture, because Reims was a center of the reception of antiquities in the 13th century. There the sculptors also had the opportunity to study ancient sculptures.

West choir (Peterschor)

West choir
Wheel candlesticks

The west choir, consecrated to St. Peter, has been the area of ​​the bishop and the cathedral chapter and the location of the main altar since the redesign. The papal tomb and the bishopric, the cathedra, are also located here . The large chandelier suspended in the vault near the keystone is impressive.


Above the west choir, the keystone of the vault, which has moved off axis, stands out. Even if this was only due to structural engineering, it has repeatedly encouraged attempts to explain it. It is said that the builders wanted to point out how Christ bowed his head on the cross and died. According to another tradition, it was meant to express that the building appeared before God as an imperfect human work.

Religious symbolism is behind the Gothic construction. According to this, the pillars and pillars represent the apostles and prophets who carry the faith, while Jesus is the keystone that connects one wall to the other.

Choir stalls
West choir with choir stalls, papal grave and bishop's seat

The choir stalls are the visible sign of the work of the cathedral chapter . Here each member has their choir seat, which is a symbol of the office of the capitular in the fellowship of the college. The western choir stalls were designed around 1380. It is carved from oak and has 66 individual seats. It is believed that the choir stalls were modeled on the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague . Emperor Charles IV called the architect Peter Parler to Prague. Bamberg's Bishop Lamprecht von Brunn was an advisor to Emperor Charles IV and later Chancellor of his son King Wenceslaus the Lazy . This supports the assumption that the choir stalls in the west choir were designed in a similar way to the stalls in St. Vitus Cathedral designed by Parler and burned in 1541.

The ornate end cheeks show a prophet and the Lord's Annunciation to Mary in the north . On the opposite end cheek, a prophet and Mary with child are depicted. A lioness who breathes on her stillborn cubs to life represents the embodiment of the resurrection .

The book shelf shows personifications of the cardinal virtues , which are also depicted on the papal tomb:

  • A reading bishop symbolizes wisdom (Latin: prudentia / sapientia).
  • Samson , who opens the lion's mouth, stands for strength (Latin: fortitudo).
  • The temperance (Latin: temperantia) rides a camel.
  • The Justice (latin: justitia) is not as usually depicted with a crown, with a balance.
Papal tomb
Papal tomb
Paradise rivers
Clement II's grave image on the northern choir screen

In addition to the imperial grave, the Bamberg Cathedral also houses the grave of Pope Clement II , the only preserved grave of a Pope north of the Alps. Clemens, previously Bishop Suitger of Bamberg, was appointed Pope at the Synod of Sutri , but remained Bishop of Bamberg, his "sweetest bride". After his death, his body was transferred to Bamberg and is now - barely visible and not accessible to the public - behind the bishop's chair, the cathedra .

The Italian marble sarcophagus is decorated with reliefs that could be mistaken for works of the 20th century, but they date from the mid-13th century. The reliefs show the following motifs:

Justice : Libra as a symbol for justice
Fortitudo: Leo for strength
Prudentia: dragon for wisdom
Temperantia: Mixture of wine and water for moderation

“A stream comes from Eden to water the garden and from there it splits into four main streams. The first name is Pishon, which surrounds the whole land of Chawila, where the gold is. The gold of this country is good. There you can find the Bedolach ore and the Shoham stone. The name of the second stream is Gichon, which surrounds the whole land of Kush. The name of the third stream is Chidekel , which flows on the morning side of Ashur, and the fourth stream is Perat. "

The top plate of the grave dates from the 17th century. Six base drums indicate that a canopy was installed above the grave , which included the papal sculpture on the northern pillars of the choir.

The second Pope to visit Bamberg Cathedral was Leo IX. - also a Pope from Germany - who in 1052 paid his respects to the graves of Heinrich and Kunigunde and the sarcophagus of his predecessor Clemens II. When Bamberg Cathedral was elevated to a minor basilica in 1923, Pope Pius XI. "That Bamberg Cathedral is distinguished from all other cathedrals in Germany by the fact that it contains the tomb of our predecessor Clemens II."

In the archives of the Archdiocese of Bamberg there is a record from 1824 about the opening of the papal tomb in 1731:

“Anno 1731, on October 22nd, the grave of Pope Clementis II is, because it is very necessary to repair it. Horneck, Subcustodis, Obleyers and 4 Kirchnern have been opened by the workmen. In front of the head there was a lot of light yellow hair, the pontifical parament blue, its length 6 shoe 3 inches, M, v Reider 1824. "

During the Second World War, the papal tomb was reopened on June 3, 1942, and was found in a safe place with other works of art. When the repatriation took place in 1947, only the remains of the Pope were buried in the cathedral. The textiles and grave goods were restored and have been exhibited in the Diocesan Museum ever since .


The cathedra , the bishop's chair, has stood in front of the papal grave since 1969. It is a sign of the bishop's preaching mandate ; only the legally appointed and consecrated bishop may sit on it. The cathedral of Bamberg Cathedral, created in 1899, is a neo-Romanesque work of art that Archbishop Joseph von Schork received as a gift from the Metropolitan Chapter on the occasion of his golden jubilee as a priest in 1904. It consists of a wooden chair covered with gilded copper sheet and embossed leather, which is decorated with semi-precious stones. The design comes from the Munich academy professor Leonhard Romeis and is based closely on early medieval models.

The following motifs can be found in the middle of the inside:

  • Official coat of arms of Archbishop Joseph von Schork
  • Main patrons of the cathedral, Peter and Georg

The ivory reliefs at the base of the backrest show:

The four passports on the side rests show:

  • Petri fish haul
  • Battle of St. George with the dragon

On the back there are the personifications of the four cardinal virtues and the Latin dedication embossed in leather :

(Translation: Peace for ever from the Lord to his throne, the most revered and honored Lord, Doctor Joseph von Schork, Archbishop of the Bamberg Church, on the 70th anniversary of his birthday, and has given this seat as a gift and dedicated the Metropolitan Chapter on 7. December 1899.)
People's Altar

The first Bamberg Cathedral already had eight altars. Seven neo-Romanesque altars were erected during the purification, some of which have survived. Since the liturgical reorganization after the Second Vatican Council, these side altars only partially serve the Eucharist . Until 1969, the George altar in the east choir was the main altar. It is the only altar that has remained unchanged from the neo-Romanesque furnishings.

From the liturgical reform following the Second Vatican Council, it emerged that mass should only be celebrated at a single altar , the so-called popular altar . The altar should be the center that should be in the eyes of all worshipers. For this reason, the altar island in front of the west choir was created in the 1970s.

The people's altar consists of a sandstone base on which ten bronze panels are attached:

  • South side: Birth and baptism of Christ
  • East side: Christ on the Mount of Olives , crucifixion and resurrection
  • North side: Emmaus story and the return of Christ on Judgment Day
  • West side: Archbishop Josef Schneider's coat of arms with the motto IN SPE FORTITVDO NOSTRA (“Our strength lies in hope”)

The archbishop's coat of arms is flanked by the slogan of the World Eucharistic Congress in Munich in 1960 PRO MVNDI VITA (“For the life of the world”) and the motto of the 81st German Catholic Day IN VERBO TVO (“Auf dein Wort hin "). This altar is the most important work of art in the cathedral today.

Central nave

Central nave with pulpit, cathedral rider, imperial tomb and old high altar (1897)

The central nave takes up about a third of the total length and was the connecting structure between the two choirs. It became of particular importance when the high graves of the two canonized founders of the diocese, Heinrich and Kunigunde, became the center of piety. This remained so when the imperial tomb was moved to the ramp of the east choir in the course of the Baroque style. Nevertheless, the space remained unchanged over the centuries.

Bamberg Rider (Domreiter)

Until the changes to the structure at the end of the Middle Ages, the names of the builders and artists who were involved in the creation of the structure remained unknown, including the creator of the Bamberg Rider . This figure - the oldest surviving medieval sculpture of a rider - was made around the year 1230 from several blocks of sandstone reed and shows an unknown ruler. It is still standing on the pillar where it used to be.

The equestrian statue was originally painted in different colors than you might think. The acanthus console with the leaf mask was green, the horse white with brown spots, the dress and the cape red with silver and gold stars (?), The boots brown, the crown, the spurs, the belt gold-plated, the body in natural color, the hair dark.

Frontal view of the Bamberg rider

The identity of the person depicted is still unclear and there are many attempts at interpretation:

Emperor Constantine the Great
Emperor Heinrich II.
Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa
Emperor Friedrich II.

These attempts at interpretation must be rejected, as the rider does not wear an imperial crown . Further hypotheses are (see Bamberger Reiter )

King Stephan I (Hungary) ,
the Roman-German kings Konrad III. or Philipp von Schwaben
as well as further interpretations of the rider as symbolization for the dynasty of the Staufer or for the German kingship.

The vertical structure of the equestrian figure, which can be interpreted symbolically, is remarkable:

the foliage of the console for the plant kingdom,
the horse for the animal kingdom,
the rider for man, the crown of creation ,
the canopy stands for the heavenly Jerusalem.

During the Second World War, the Domreiter was protected from air raids with a 64 centimeter thick wall, which was covered with a 300 centimeter heavy reinforced concrete ceiling. This bunker was only removed again in September 1947.

Imperial tomb
Imperial tomb
Heinrich on his deathbed (detail)
Pulpit in the Gügel

The imperial grave in Bamberg Cathedral was made in the workshop of Tilman Riemenschneider between 1499 and 1513 . The marble high grave of Emperor Heinrich II and Empress Kunigunde shows legends from the life of the imperial couple on the side walls:

  • The acid test : Heinrich was whispered that Kunigunde had been unfaithful to him. Therefore, as a divine judgment , the empress had to walk over glowing plowshares and was unharmed.
  • The fair wages: The penny miracle of the holy Kunigunde shows how the empress personally paid the wages for the builders of St. Stephan . A craftsman who wanted to take more than he was entitled to cried out in pain because he grabbed a glowing penny.
  • Heinrich on his deathbed : This scene shows how Kunigunde and some members of the court mourn the dying emperor. Heinrich lies on his death bed while his wife dries tears with a towel. At the foot of his bed, a disguised devil beckons with a greatly enlarged index finger. Heinrich, however, points to Kunigunde and says that he received his wife as a virgin and that he is leaving behind as a virgin.
  • The weighing of souls : The weighing of souls of Saint Henry shows how the Archangel Michael and the devil quarrel over the soul of the emperor. When St. Lawrence puts a goblet on the scales as a sign of Heinrich's pious deeds, the scales are in his favor. In addition to the (missing) tip on the scales, there is the legend that the world will end when it is right in the middle.
  • The cure from stone disease: Heinrich often suffered from kidney stones. During a stay in the Montecassino monastery , Heinrich is said to have been healed of his stone disease in his sleep by St. Benedict (with the knife in his hand), while his doctor sits asleep by the bed. The emperor wakes up in the morning with the (oversized) kidney stone in his hand.
  • Cover plate of the imperial tomb: Heinrich and Kunigunde are depicted as lying figures on the monumental cover plate, which can only be viewed from above. At her feet lie two lions with the Bavarian and Luxembourg coats of arms. While the cover plate is to be regarded as a handwritten work by Riemenschneider, the side reliefs are likely to have been created with the help of assistants.

The skull relics of the imperial couple are in the so-called main chapel.


Since the 13th century, pulpits were erected in the nave for acoustic reasons due to the increasing size of the churches.

In 1815 a new pulpit was commissioned because the old one was so rotten that the preacher was, according to the report of the district building inspection, "in constant mortal danger". However, this new pulpit was removed from the cathedral a decade later and taken to the St. Pankratius chapel on the Gügel near Scheßlitz , where it still stands today. Today's pulpit of Bamberg Cathedral was built in 1835 and 1836 in connection with the neo-Romanesque furnishings. The high reliefs in the arcades show Christ and the four evangelists. It is no longer used today. The ambo in the west choir is the symbol of the Annunciation in the church .

Main organ

There was a first organ in Bamberg Cathedral as early as 1415, because organ music was the hallmark of festive church services even then. When improved and enlarged instruments were created, an organ was installed high up on the north wall of the nave as the "swallow's nest organ". All the main organs have been installed in this acoustically favorable location since 1415.

According to historical sources, the organ builder Conrad Rotenbürger from Nuremberg is said to have built a (new) large organ in 1475 and enlarged it in 1493. This instrument proved to be in need of repair and was in poor condition by the middle of the 16th century. In 1609 the organ was repaired by the organ builder Frater Arnold Flander from Mainz. At the same time the organ prospectus was renewed by the Bamberg court painter Georg Conrad. As early as 1689, the instrument was comprehensively renewed by the organ builder Nikolaus Will.

In the course of a purification of the cathedral in 1837 the late Gothic organ prospect was replaced by a neo-Romanesque one. In 1868 a new organ was commissioned, which was built by the organ builder Josef Wiedemann (Bamberg). This work was so inadequate that it had to be rebuilt five years later by the Steinmeyer (Oettingen) organ builder . The instrument was famous for its sound. In 1940 it was replaced by a larger new building by Steinmeyer. It has been proven that the medieval organ was installed high above the central nave and thus had the same location as the present one. For this swallow's nest , the acoustically good location should have been decisive.

Today's main organ in northern Obergaden was installed in 1976 by the Rieger organ builder (Schwarzach, Vorarlberg) and revised in 1997–1998 by the Glatter-Götz Orgelbau (Owingen) and Goll (Lucerne) workshops . The slider chest instrument has 77 sounding stops on four manuals and pedal . The game action is mechanical, the stop action, however, electric. The organ is equipped with an electronic composer system and, in addition to the normal couplers, has four sub or super octave couplers.

Four large angels with the evangelist signs border the prospect and symbolize the choir of angels that proclaim the good news . What is remarkable about the organ is the inclusion of historical elements (clock, figures, stucco) and the trumpetería .

I Rückpositiv C – c 4
01. Principal 08th'
02. Tube bare 08th'
03. Suavial 08th'
04th Octav 04 ′
05. Coupling flute 04 ′
06th Sesquialtera II0 2 23
07th Super octave 02 ′
08th. recorder 02 ′
09. Quintlet 1 13
10. Sif flute 01'
11. Scharff V 1 13
12. Dulcian 16 ′
13. Trumpet 08th'
14th Krummhorn 08th'
II main work C – c 4
15th Principal 16 ′
16. Octav 08th'
17th Hollow flute 08th'
18th Dumped 08th'
19th Viol 08th'
20th Octav 04 ′
21st Pointed flute 04 ′
22nd Fifth 2 23
23. Super octave 02 ′
24. Mixtura maj. V-VI 2 23
25th Mixtura min. VI-V0 01'
26th Cornet V 08th'
27. Trumpet 16 ′
28. Trumpet 08th'
29 Chamade 08th'
30th Chamade 04 ′
III Swell C – c 4
31. Dumped 16 ′
32. Wooden principal 08th'
33. Wooden flute 08th'
34. Lead-covered 08th'
35. Viol 08th'
36. Beat 08th'
37. Octav 04 ′
38. Flute 04 ′
39. viola 04 ′
40. Nassat 2 23
41. Octavine 02 ′
42. third 1 35
43. Mixture V 02 ′
44. bassoon 16 ′
45. Trumpet harm.0 08th'
46. Hautbois 08th'
47. Clairon 04 ′
IV breastwork C – c 4
48. Wooden dacked 08th'
49. Quintad 08th'
50. Salicional 08th'
51. Principal 04 ′
52. Wooden pipe flute 04 ′
53. Nassat 2 23
54. Octav 02 ′
55. Wooden flute 02 ′
56. third 1 35
57. Fifth 1 13
58. Oktavlein 01'
59. Quint cimbel II0 013
60. shelf 16 ′
61. Vox humana 08th'
Pedal C – g 1
62. Pedestal 32 ′
63. Principal 16 ′
64. Sub bass 16 ′
65. Octav 08th'
66. Capstan whistle 08th'
67. Violon 08th'
68. Octav 04 ′
69. flute 04 ′
70. Jubilee flute 02 ′
71. Back set IV0 2 23
72. bassoon 32 ′
73. Bombard 16 ′
74. bassoon 16 ′
75. trombone 08th'
76. Clairon 04 ′
Choir organ

After the Steinmeyer organ had already been divided into a larger main organ and a spatially separate choir organ, the order for a new choir organ was initially placed in the early 1970s. It came to stand in the east choir, where since the cathedral restoration 1969-1973 singers of the cathedral choir had usually taken up positions. The organ building company Rieger (Schwarzach, Vorarlberg) designed an instrument with 21 registers, which was consecrated on December 16, 1973. From the beginning it was ensured that a main organ to be built later could also be controlled from the console of the choir organ. In 2003 two registers were exchanged by the organ builder Goll (Lucerne), and adjustments were made to the console.

II main work C – c 4
01. Principal 08th'
02. Octav 04 ′
03. Octav 02 ′
04th Mixture IV-VI0 1 13
05. Salicional 08th'
06th Reed flute 08th'
07th Pointed flute 04 ′
08th. Trumpet 08th
III Breastwork (swellable) C – c 4
9. Wooden dacked 08th'
10. Coupling flute 04 ′
11. Nasat 2 23
12. recorder 02 ′
13. third 1 35
14th Fifth 1 13
15th musette 08th'
Pedal C – g 1
16. Sub bass 016 ′
17th Octav 08th'
18th Dumped 08th'
19th Chorale flute 04 ′
20th Rauschpfeife III 02 ′
21st Sordun 02 ′
  • Pair : III / II, III / I, III / P, II / P
  • Playing aids : Electronic typesetting system (8 general combinations).
  • The first manual is used exclusively to control the Rückpositiv on the main organ.
  • The original disposition in the main work provided for a sesquialter 2-fold 2 2/3 'instead of the salicional, in the breastwork a cimbel 2-fold 1/3' instead of the nasat.


North aisle

The two side aisles are illuminated through arched windows and open to the central nave through high arcades. Actually, they are only access and passage rooms to the choirs and the central nave. This is due to the fact that Adam and Mercy Gate open directly into the long corridors of the two aisles.

The south aisle was probably pure traffic area. From here one could get into the dormitory of the cathedral chapter house as well as the cloister, the Gertruden chapel and the Sepultur. For this reason there were never altars in the south aisle. Rather, there were grids with two passages in front of the east and west choirs between the south aisle and the central nave.

Kirchgattendorfer Altar

The Marienaltar from the village of Kirchgattendorf bei Hof , a small village in the former Margraviate of Bayreuth , which became Protestant during the Reformation, dates from around 1510 and served as a celebration altar until 1708. When the church became Protestant during the Reformation, the parish no longer had any use for the altar and it was placed in the basement of the tower. In 1919 the altar was sold to the parish of Steinwiesen because it was in disrepair , which, however, could not afford the high restoration costs and sold it to the Archdiocese of Bamberg . Today this altar of Mary is one of the sights in Bamberg Cathedral. In 1921 it had to give way to the Veit-Stoss-Altar and came to its current location opposite the Domreiter .

The Kirchgattendorfer Altar depicts Maria in a halo in almost life-size sculptures, surrounded by Saint Catherine of Alexandria with a sword and Barbara with a chalice and host. The insides of the wings are decorated with scenes from the life of Mary and the childhood story of Jesus. The Kirchgattendorfer is actually no longer an altar, as it is no longer used for worship today.

Riemenschneider Altar
So-called Riemenschneider altar

The so-called Riemenschneider Altar with sculptures from the early 16th century got its name from the fact that the sculpture of St. Sebastian in the middle shrine was assigned to Tilman Riemenschneider's workshop . These figures were not created for the cathedral, but purchased as individual pieces in the 20th century and placed in the cathedral.

Middle field: Saint Sebastian , next to Heinrich II. And Stephanus
Side panels: holy women ( Barbara and Katharina , Margaretha and Dorothea , Magdalena and Helena as well as Ursula and an unknown saint)

The Riemenschneider altar was put together in 1926 from various sculptures and an existing predella (a base or a step on which an altar stands), has no altar table and is exhibited purely as a museum. The shrine stands on an old predella donated from a private estate. In the middle you can see the Trinity (with Christ crucified), on each side three saints in half-length portraits, namely Heinrich and Kunigunde with a model of a church, Laurentius, Augustine and two bishops. The figures probably come from secularized churches.

Since Emperor Heinrich II is depicted in the middle shrine, the altar is also called Heinrichsaltar.

Episcopal tombs

The first cathedral was built on an old burial ground and during its long history the cathedral has always been the burial place of more or less famous people. In addition to an emperor and a pope, a number of bishops were also buried here, because every bishop has the right to be buried in his or her episcopal church. Since the 14th century, a commemorative plaque was put up for every bishop because burials were usually carried out under the floor. The baroque tombs were removed in the 19th century and are now placed in the former St. Michael monastery church .

The grave slab of Bishop Friedrich von Hohenlohe , who died in 1352, is remarkable because it does not depict the bishop in an idealized manner, but as an old man at the age at which he died. This grave slab became the model for a similar representation of Bishop Friedrich II of Truhendingen .

The sculpture of Pope Clement II comes from the same sculptor who made the Bamberg Rider. It was created between 1225 and 1237 and was commissioned together with the papal tomb. The figure was probably on the grave until 1650. During the Baroque era, the grave was dismantled and given a new cover plate. The sculpture is intended to be lying because the head rests on a pillow. The folds of the robes and the blessing hand position contradict this.

When the tombs and the ossuary were cleared in 1973, the year of Bamberg's millennium , the archaeologists counted 1,056 skulls in the ossuary alone. These remains were interred in the cloister in 1982.

A new bishop's burial place, intended for up to 12 burials, was assigned in 1996 in a different location, in the crypt under the west choir.



The transept is clearly visible from the outside. Inside, however, it is difficult to recognize as the transept of a cruciform basilica. The two transept arms are rooms with a square floor plan, which can be seen as high chapel-like extensions of the aisles.

A special feature of Bamberg Cathedral is that the transept was built in front of the west choir and not, as in other church buildings from the High Middle Ages , in front of the east choir.

Veit Stoss Altar
Veit Stoss Altar (1787)
Veit Stoss Altar (2008)

The Marien or Christmas altar comes from the famous artist Veit Stoss . These are lime wood reliefs that Veit Stoss completed in 1523. The client was his son Andreas Stoss, who was prior in the Nuremberg Carmelite monastery. When the monastery was closed a year later and Andreas Stoss came to Bamberg, he bought the altar for the Bamberg Upper Parish . It was transferred to the cathedral on loan to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the cathedral's consecration in 1937. The Kirchgattendorfer Altar had to give way and was moved to its current location.

In the middle of the triptych the birth of Jesus is shown, with the angels already pointing to the Passion through the instruments of suffering . Veit Stoss showed the baby Jesus on Mary's widely spread cloak. The Christ child on the pillow is an addition from the Baroque period. Saint Joseph stands behind Mary , while angels and shepherds step up to the right. The first one holds a buckle neck lute in his arm and at the same time grasps a column. An angel in the clothes of a deacon kneels facing the viewer, another has a viola tucked under his arm. He doesn't make music either, but holds a cross in his hands. The column originally conceived in the center of the picture was later moved to the left. After the meditations of the pseudo-Bonaventure it is described that Maria leaned her child against a column and gave birth without pain.

The column should also be understood as a reference to the Passion , to the flagellation of Christ before Pontius Pilate . The same applies to the two caves below the column. According to the pseudo-Matthew , Maria gave birth to her child in a cave and left her on the third day to put it in the manger . The background is a landscape with fortifications and houses, reminiscent of the medieval city fortifications of Nuremberg .

The two upper reliefs on the outer wing are flatter and were probably intended for the outside. They depict the flight into Egypt and the birth of Mary. The lower reliefs show the adoration of the three kings and the offering of Jesus in the temple.

As prescribed by Veit Stoss, the altar should only be opened on special feast days: Christmas , Epiphany , Easter and Pentecost , on Ascension Day , Corpus Christi , Trinity , All Saints' Day and the Feasts of Mary. In order to avoid soot pollution, it was also stipulated that the altar could only be lit by two candles:

“The table should only be opened on Christmas, Easter and Pentecost with the two following days, on Ascension, Trinity, All Saints, the Feast of the Apparition of the Lord, Corpus Christi, Kirchweih and all feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary [...]. It should be cleaned twice a year. And no big candles should be placed on the altar because of the smoke. Two small candles are enough. The rest should find their place far from the altar. "

Veit Stoss also turned against painting, because carvers and sculptors were not members of the painters' guild , which is why they were not allowed to paint their carvings themselves. The barrel painters changed the figures with a thick base of chalk and layers of paint. Barrel painters were paid better than carvers and sculptors.

Historical photos show that the position of the figures in the center shrine was changed several times. Using older dowel holes, the parts were rearranged in 1933 and 1934 to create the current condition. The altar was originally not as dark as it appears today. Rather, the figures' eyes and mouth were colored and the light limewood was glazed with a honey-yellow finish. In the late 19th century, however, the altar was reworked with a dark brown glaze .

Mühlhausen Altar
Saint Margaret on the Mühlhausen altar

The Marien Altar from the Protestant parish church of Mühlhausen , a few kilometers south of Bamberg in the Erlangen-Höchstadt district , dates from around 1500. It was used as a parish altar in the Middle Franconian village, but then had to give way to a new altar. It was stored in an attic for years until it was auctioned off and given to the Archbishop of Bamberg, Joseph von Schork , in 1891 . He donated the altar to his bishop's church in 1904, but first had it renovated and supplemented with a medieval figure of Anna .

  • Middle: Mary as Queen of Heaven on the crescent moon and with the Christ child in her arms, surrounded by a glory of rays
  • Left: Annunciation to Mary, including the presentation of Jesus in the temple
  • Right: Nativity and the adoration of the Magi

Nail chapel

Nail chapel
Holy nail

In the nail chapel, a holy nail from the cross of Jesus was shown, an extremely valuable relic in the Middle Ages . Since then, the term nail chapel has also been used. This nail was so venerated in the 18th century that it was shown on the cross altar in the sepulture of the cathedral chapter so as not to disturb the church services in the cathedral. It belongs to the so-called Christ relics , objects that have come into contact with the body and blood of Christ. The eleven centimeter long holy nail, the head and point of which have broken off, was mentioned in a bill as early as 1390 and has been in the Bamberg Cathedral Treasury since that time. It is exhibited in a reliquary monstrance and, along with three large particles of the cross of Christ, two thorns from his crown of thorns and the tablet that Pontius Pilate had placed over the head of Christ, belongs to the healings that, according to tradition , belong to the mother of Emperor Constantine , Saint Helena , found in Jerusalem . Regarding the miracles that the holy nail is said to have caused, a book of miracles in the cathedral chapter for the year 1652 reports that a peasant's son, who was born blind, saw after touching the nail relic.

The nail chapel was built in the style of a Cistercian chapter room before the middle of the 13th century and served the cathedral chapter as a burial place and as a meeting room until around 1350. The bronze grave slabs covered the floor more and more until they were finally placed on the walls in 1762. They show the image of the deceased and a legend. Because many canons were only ordained deacons , unlike priests, they do not hold a communion chalice , but a book in their hands.

The late medieval decor of the nail chapel also includes the Bartholomew or apostles' farewell altar, the retable of which shows how the apostles met again and made their final travel preparations before they went all over the world. On the side panels, some apostles are saying goodbye, while others are already walking. Another apostle is shown drinking from his canteen.

Since the restoration in the 1990s, the nail chapel has been used as a chapel for weekday services and for silent prayer. That is why it is not open to visitors.

Sacrament chapel

Panel painting in the sacrament chapel (detail)

The small side chapel in the south aisle was given its function as a sacrament chapel in 1974 as part of the liturgical reorganization after the Second Vatican Council. Since then, the consecrated hosts have been kept here in the tabernacle .

The sacrament chapel is a relic from the construction time of the cathedral and is actually just the overbuilding of a corner. St. Gertrude von Nivelles was originally worshiped in this chapel . This patronage was later expanded to include St. John Nepomuk and the Evangelist John . Above the tabernacle is a rosary painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Ä. was attributed and was created around 1520. It is one of the few works of art in the cathedral that has survived from before the Purification and came from the former Mauritius altar. The picture is designed like a large round window through which the view opens up to the sky. All saints are symbolically represented around the Trinity in a hierarchical order:

1st row: Apostles , Patriarchs , Prophets
2nd row: holy men
3rd row: holy women

The panel painting alludes to the rosary , surrounded by fifty white and five red rose petals, Christ on the cross, above the dove of the Holy Spirit and God the Father . Next to God the Father, Mary, the Mother of God, kneels on one side, and on the other side comes a choir of angels. At the bottom of the picture on the left are the clerical classes, led by the Pope , on the right the secular classes, led by the emperor . The Pope could be Leo X , the Emperor Maximilian I.



The name cloister is derived from the cross processions that were held here. The Bamberg Diocesan Museum was set up in the cloister and in some rooms of the chapter house in 1966 and 1970 .

The St. Andrew's Chapel is dedicated to St. Andrew , Wenceslas and Sigismund . The latter are saints who are also venerated in Prague and show the bond with this city.

The remoteness of the Andreas chapel meant that the windows were not replaced during the Baroque era, which meant that the 15th century glass window was preserved intact. This chapel is housed via a small staircase extension and is not generally accessible for conservation reasons. It is painted with the following motifs:

  1. Matthew (Man with wings. The Gospel of Matthew begins with the family tree of Jesus.)
  2. Mark (Leo. The Gospel of Mark begins with John the Baptist , the caller in the desert, hence the lion, whose call resounds in the desert.)
  3. Luke (bull. The Gospel of Luke begins at the Jerusalem temple, with which the bull is connected as a sacrificial animal.)
  4. John (eagle. The Gospel of John begins with the words "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God" (Jn 1,1), the eagle was considered the beast that flies the highest and is closest to God.)
  1. Hieronymus (lion. A legend tells that a limping lion chased the monks to flight, but Jerome pulled a thorn from his paw, whereupon the lion remained as a pet.)
  2. Augustine (boy with a spoon. A legend tells that Augustine observed a child who scooped water from the sea with a spoon. When he asked in amazement about the meaning of this action, the child replied: “I do the same as you: you want the unfathomable God with your thoughts, I scoop out the sea with a spoon! " )
  3. Ambrosius (Scourge. He drove the Arians out of Milan with a scourge .)
  4. Gregorius Maurus (Pope's Cross. Gregorius Maurus was one of the leaders of the Theban Legion and wore a cross in the flag.)


Through the graves of Heinrich and Kunigunde, the cathedral developed into a center of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages. In the late Middle Ages Bamberg was on the same level as Trier or Aachen as a major German pilgrimage site. The high point of the reliquary veneration was the great healing order , which takes place every seven years , to which the relics of other Bamberg churches were brought into the cathedral and shown to the assembled crowd on the cathedral square. As a result of the Reformation , interest in relics also decreased in Catholic Bamberg, but with the Counter-Reformation the worship of relics revived.

Up to 1805 there were two parishes in the cathedral provided by cathedral vicars , namely the choir parish for the clergy of the cathedral monastery and the St. Vitus parish for the secular residents of the cathedral castle. Signs of the cathedral as a parish church are the baptismal font in the crypt and the confessionals. In the baroque period there were no confessionals in the cathedral because the cathedral was not a church for the pastoral care of the people.

This (main) function of the cathedral as a church is not sufficiently appreciated by many visitors to the cathedral. In a newspaper report on the 750th anniversary of the cathedral in 1987, the Auxiliary Bishop of Bamberg at the time, Werner Radlayers , describes the forms of tourism that can take on in Bamberg Cathedral:

“It is a major holiday. Festive church service. The organ goes silent because the gospel is being preached, and then the sermon. The cathedral is full, the believers listen and think - one becomes a meditating Christian. As a preacher, I try to concentrate and adjust myself internally to my listeners who have come to the sanctuary. But then I get very shocked - my collection is almost over. Because I have the Marien and Adam gates in view. I must be the first to notice the inevitable invasion - my audience won't turn around for a minute. The tourists are coming! With half-pious expressions, they push themselves forward, not very quickly, but purposefully. 'Where is he, the Bamberg rider?' - 'And what kind of box is that? Yes, look, that's a confessional! ' 'There's even a pastor in there - how original!' And then the inevitable flashlight and also the clattering shoes of high heels. The front of the altar is the most beautiful and most solemn - and the preacher is in the picture: And so I mercilessly become a holiday slide. That's reality, dear reader. Not a word is exaggerated. Do you want to see it? Then come to the cathedral - if possible on a Sunday during the holiday period. "


The foreman (magister operis) was at the head of the medieval cathedral construction works, as the architect and responsible for the entire construction site. When Bamberg Cathedral fell into state hands in 1803, the state also had to take care of the maintenance and repair of the building fabric. Since state and church powers are intertwined in many projects, a cathedral construction hut was founded in 1929 , which has to carry out all renovation measures and is managed by an employee of the building construction department . The craftsmen are employees of a private building and stonemasonry company and are responsible for the removal of weather damage. Most of the work is done on the towers, one of which is almost always scaffolded.

The workforce at the Dombauhütte fluctuates between 14 and 18 employees who have been busy renovating the cathedral for around forty years. When you are done with it, the work starts all over again:

“If you want to go around Bamberg Cathedral, you need less than half an hour: From Domplatz through Domgasse, via Torschuster and Matern to Knöcklein, then downhill through Domgrundweg to Hinteren and Vorderen Bach, from here back up to Domplatz - the tour is closed . The Dombauhütte takes much longer for one round. The first lasted exactly 40 (forty) years. And it is assumed that the second one, which has already begun, will not be over in 2007, when Bamberg will celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the founding of the diocese. Note: The Dombauhütte's performance cannot be measured with the stopwatch. "

Problems with the Dombauhütte are the different types of sandstone that were used on the cathedral, because all common sandstones from the Bamberg area were built into the cathedral. The hardest sandstone came from the Michelsberg Forest and the Kreuzberg area. It is Rhätsandstein with gravelly material. The softest stone used is reed sandstone or Green Main sandstone from Sand am Main and Zeil am Main , which has a quartz content of only 40 to 50 percent. The reed sandstone was used for the ornamentation and for the large figures. Weathering only occurs in connection with moisture. The Bamberg rider has been completely undamaged for 750 years, while the figures on the outside are extremely damaged.

The situation was made worse by incorrect protective measures, for example at the Prince's Portal. There, in 1953, several prophet-apostle double figures were coated with lime sinter water to preserve them . The enrichment of the reed sandstone with calcium led to the reaction of the calcium ions with the sulphate content of the penetrating moisture of the acid rain to form gypsum . In 1973 a new attempt was made with a treatment with kieselester ; one hopes for better results from him.

Cathedral choir

Cathedral choir in front of the prince's portal during the Corpus Christi procession

The Bamberg Cathedral Choir has a tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages. The first known appearance was when Pope Benedict VIII visited on April 14, 1020 and when Bishop Otto returned from his missionary trip to Pomerania on March 29, 1125. It was institutionalized in 1192 and 1256 when Bamberg's Bishop Heinrich I . donated a choir , connected it to the chaplain in Amlingstadt and provided it with income. In addition, a member of the cathedral chapter was appointed as cantor . Mainly Gregorian chant was cultivated.

Today's choir is - like the Regensburger Domspatzen - a classic boys' choir . The main task of the cathedral choir is to provide musical accompaniment to solemn services. At major festivals of the church year he performs together with musicians from the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra . In addition, the cathedral choir goes on concert tours every year that take it overseas. Under the direction of cathedral music director Werner Pees , the cathedral choir currently has 80 singers who are only recorded after a one to two year preparatory phase (pre-choir approx. 30 boys). Since 1989 Pees has founded the girls 'choir with 140 singers between the ages of 8 and 19 in addition to the traditional boys' choir. The cathedral choir founded in 1995 (currently 60 people) consists mainly of former singers from the cathedral choir and the girls' choir.

Surroundings of the cathedral

Cathedral wreath

Cathedral wreath

The cathedral wreath is a high terrace accessible via two wide stairs, which did not belong to the original cathedral complex and was only built between 1508 and 1511. The irregular floor plan of the cathedral wreath allows conclusions to be drawn about a building that no longer exists today. A stone lectern on the balustrade facing the cathedral square suggests that this gallery-like forecourt was used for liturgical services and as a stage for the great Bamberg reliquaries.

In 2013 and 2014, the University of Bamberg carried out archaeological excavations in the area of ​​the cathedral wreath, during which, among other things, medieval cemetery horizons of the 10./11.-14. Century as well as various previously unknown building findings could be documented.

On the cathedral wreath are also the two cathedral toads and the two eastern entrances to the cathedral, namely Adam's Gate and Gnadenpforte.

Diocesan Museum

The Diocesan Museum is directly adjacent to the cloister of Bamberg Cathedral . It was opened in 1966 in the rooms of the Kapitelhaus and, with the cathedral treasure and its high medieval sacred robes, has a collection of cultural and historical importance. The main exhibits include:

Regalia of Pope Clement II.
Shroud of Bishop Gunther from the period between 1050 and 1060
gold-embroidered coats of Emperor Heinrich and Empress Kunigunde
Ostensensorien (display devices with relics )

Chapter house

Cathedral wreath and chapter house

Since the Middle Ages among the cathedrals priests communities as Domkapitel the choral prayer and worship sided in the cathedral and in the administration of the diocese were active. The canons originally lived in a monastery-like community according to strict rules. Since these rules were read out in chapters at the daily meetings , the name cathedral chapter became established as the name for the community of canons .

In the old bishopric of Bamberg the 34 canons had to be aristocratic according to the statute of 1398. The cathedral monastery was apparently located south of the cathedral and consisted of various buildings arranged around a cloister. The common apartment of the cathedral chapter dissolved as early as the 12th century. The common property was divided. Each canon thus had his own income. Then the canons were released from the common obligation to live, whereupon they moved into their own canon courts in the area of ​​the Domberg.

The cathedral chapter is a college of priests that has two tasks to fulfill: It is a prayer community that is responsible for the daily divine service and also supports the bishop in the administration and management of the diocese. It is an independent community of clergy who increasingly gained their own rights vis-à-vis the bishop. In a cathedral , the choir stalls are the visible sign of the work of the cathedral chapter. Here each member has his or her choir seat, which is comparable to the bishop's seat, the cathedra . There are two choir stalls in Bamberg Cathedral, one in the east and one in the west choir. The stalls should provide the necessary order for the mutual prayer of the choir prayer.

A new building of the cathedral chapter house became necessary because towards the end of the 17th century the chapter house no longer met the increased demands on representation. However, the question of financing remained unanswered for a long time. Only when a canon had donated the amount of 12,000 Rhenish guilders in his will did the cathedral chapter commission Balthasar Neumann with the planning. The cathedral chapter house is one of the lesser-known buildings by the renowned baroque master builder. The access via the main portal was probably not of great importance, because mainly the cathedral school and administration rooms on the ground floor were accessed from here.

Cathedral Square

Domplatz with cathedral, old court and new residence
Cathedral, part of Domplatz and old court (1819)

At the cathedral square standing Renaissance facilities warehouse of Old Court and the baroque ensemble of the New Residence . As a result, the Romanesque and Gothic components of the cathedral provide a view of four stylistic epochs of art at the same time.

The slope of the square only arose as a result of the lowering of the level of the Domplatz in the years 1777 and 1778, which made stairs to the portals necessary. This lowering of the level was necessary in order to create direct access to Bamberg city center. Before that, the gate at the so-called “gateman” was the only access to the Domberg. For the two new approaches from the east, two canon curiae had to give way. In its place, a wall has formed the east end of the Domplatz.

The Domplatz was called Hofplatz or Burgplatz until secularization . Only the small area in front of the Kapitelhaus was called Domplatz. Then the new Bavarian rulers named the entire area in honor of the then Queen Karoline in Karolinenplatz . Only after the end of the monarchy did the name Domplatz gradually become established and in 1949 it became the official name of the square.

The stone book

The stone book is a black and white sound film from 1937/38, directed by Walter Hege and with Bamberg Cathedral as its subject. He tells of a carpenter and a student who traveled to Bamberg to visit the cathedral, and begins with the journey through Bamberg at night. At Adam's Gate, the two meet the sexton of the cathedral, who expertly explains the architecture to them in the light of his lantern.

The film serves the national socialist ideology. The cathedral's sculptures do not represent historical figures, but are stylized to represent the “German”. The comment that the sexton makes in the film makes this clear when describing the cathedral rider :

"At this time, when decay and duplicity prevailed everywhere, one of the great sculptors created the figure that our people longed for, the rider."

The same tendency was followed by the review of the film in the Bamberger Volksblatt on November 20, 1938:

“The Sybille, Ecclesia and the synagogue pass by and then the final apotheosis is the image in the cathedral, which is known all over the world today as a symbol of the royal rider. The rider listens seriously and thoughtfully to the time and while the full tones of the imperial bell swell, the image of the German man sinks; the film of Bamberg's imperial cathedral is over, the stone book closed again. "

Bamberg Gate

Bamberg Gate in Powerscourt Gardens (center)

In the southeast Irish Powerscourt Gardens there is a Bamberg Gate , a wrought-iron gate that originally comes from the Bamberg Cathedral and today forms the representative entrance gate to the garden of the palace complex. This baroque door was manufactured in Vienna in 1770, then installed in Bamberg Cathedral and, after purification, brought to his estate 20 kilometers south of Dublin by the seventh Viscount of Powerscourt, a well-traveled man, in 1850 .


Fritz Hoffmann

The Bamberg painter Fritz Hoffmann describes his first encounter with Bamberg Cathedral as follows:

“In 1937, by a letter of particular importance, I was called up to do my military service in Bamberg, the city that I had not yet known visually. I had already read about Bamberg Cathedral and the Bamberg Rider without knowing at the time where this rider was. The 'solution' came about during my first visit to the cathedral. On the day of the convocation, coming by train from the direction of Würzburg, upon leaving the Main Valley, the 'Film Bamberg' began for me personally with the unique silhouette of this city. In the midst of this flat outline image, majestically towering over all the buildings in the vicinity, I saw the Bamberg Cathedral for the first time. This distinctive landmark in the overall picture of our city has significantly influenced my later life. "

Robert Bauer-Haderlein

Fresco in the east apse

The academic sculptor Robert Bauer-Haderlein describes the importance of the cathedral for his work as follows:

“For me, the cathedral is one of the most important sacred buildings in German-speaking countries. His sculptures were and are groundbreaking for me as a sculptor. The figures on the choir screens, the papal tomb, the imperial tomb and - from the 20th century - the fresco by Karl Caspar in the east apse, which caused such great indignation when it was created in Bamberg in 1927/28, make a special impression on me. My personal memories of the cathedral are inextricably linked with my time as an enthusiastic cathedral chorister. The highlights were Palm Sundays and Good Friday with the St. John and St. Matthew Passions. "

Robert Bauer-Haderlein is the winner of the Culture Prize of the Upper Franconian Economy (1976)

Gerhard C. Krischker

The Bamberg dialect poet Gerhard C. Krischker describes in a poem about the cathedral its symbolic meaning for the Bamberg intellectual life:

aa when bai us ka sunna schaind
schdämmä in dom sain schaddn"

Translation into standard German:

even if there is no sun here
, we stand in the shadow of the cathedral"

See also

List of cathedrals and domes - Domberg (Bamberg) - Archdiocese of Bamberg - List of Archbishops and Bishops of Bamberg - List of Bamberg Canons - List of Bamberg Cathedral Preachers - Diocesan Museum Bamberg - Old Court (Bamberg) - New Residence (Bamberg) - List of the UNESCO World Heritage Church building



  • Bruno Neundorfer: The Bamberg Cathedral . Art Guide No. 100, Schnell and Steiner Zurich 1976, ISBN 3-7954-4138-2 .
  • Dethard von Winterfeld : The cathedral in Bamberg. (2 volumes), Berlin 1979, ISBN 3-7861-1140-5 .
  • Alexander Freiherr von Reitzenstein : The history of Bamberg Cathedral from its beginnings to its completion in the 13th century . Prestel, Munich 1984, ISBN 3-7913-0666-9 .
  • Bruno Neundorfer: The Bamberg Cathedral. Mother Church of the Archdiocese. St. Otto Verlag Bamberg 1989, ISBN 3-87693-050-2 .
  • Josef Urban: The Bamberg Cathedral. In the series: The Diocese of Bamberg in the past and present. Strasbourg 1994.
  • Werner Zeißner, Josef Urban: The Diocese of Bamberg in the past and present. Part 5 The cathedral to Bamberg, cathedral and mother church. Editions du Signe Strasbourg 1997, ISBN 2-87718-607-5 .
  • Achim Hubel: Thoughts on the dating of the eastern parts of Bamberg Cathedral . In: International Conference of Cathedral Builders, Minster Builders and Hüttenmeister, Bamberg 1996, Documentation, ed. from the Bamberg State Building Authority, Bamberg 1997.
  • Peter Braun: The Bamberg Cathedral. A short guide. Heinrichs Verlag Bamberg 2002, ISBN 3-89889-011-2 .
  • Walter Folger: The Marien Altar of Veit Stoss in Bamberg Cathedral. Erich Weiß Verlag Bamberg 2014, ISBN 978-3-940821-36-2 .
  • Christine Freise-Wonka: Bamberg Cathedral - experience a cathedral. Heinrichs Verlag Bamberg 2002, ISBN 3-89889-035-X .
  • Andrea Hubel, Gabriele Schneidmüller: Bamberg Cathedral from A (psis) to Z (werggalerie). Michael Imhof Verlag Petersberg 2003, ISBN 3-935590-04-0 .
  • Christian Dümler: The Bamberg Imperial Cathedral. 1000 years of art and history. Verlag Fränkischer Tag Bamberg 2005, ISBN 3-936897-18-2 .
  • Ludger Stühlmeyer (in writing): Stations of church music in the Archdiocese of Bamberg. Published by the Office for Church Music in the Archdiocese of Bamberg, Bamberg 2007.
  • Robert Suckale: The Bamberg cathedral sculptures 'revisited' . In: Report of the Historical Association for the Care of the History of the Former Principality of Bamberg 143 (2007), pp. 185–210. Online version
  • Stefan Schnupp: Between Heinrichsdom and the place of remembrance. Art-historical research on Bamberg Cathedral (PDF; 8.3 MB). In: Helikon. A Multidisciplinary Online Journal , 2, pp. 56-135.
  • Luitgar Göller (Ed.): 1000 years of the Bamberg diocese 1007-2007. Under the stars. Michael Imhof Verlag Petersberg 2007, ISBN 978-3-86568-261-1 .
  • Norbert Jung , Wolfgang F. Reddig: Towards the sky. 1000 years of the Bamberg Cathedral 1012–2012. Catalog of the special exhibition (= publications of the Diözesanmuseum Bamberg. Vol. 22). Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2012, ISBN 978-3-86568-754-8 .
  • Martin Kobusynski: Riddle about the Bamberg Cathedral. A journey of discovery to join in on four secret paths , (Publication by the Diözesanmuseum Bamberg, Volume 25), 2013, ISBN 978-3-931432-33-1


  • Daniela Baur, Maria Wüstenhagen: Conrad and the Bamberg Cathedral. (Children's book on the history of the cathedral), Bamberg Cathedral City Foundation 2011, ISBN 978-3-940483-05-8 .
  • Lea Stühlmeyer: Johanna, Bene and the riddles of Bamberg Cathedral , with illustrations by Myriam Dostal, DeBehr, Radeberg 2012, ISBN 978-3-941758-90-2 .

Web links

Commons : Bamberg Cathedral  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Pius XI .: Litt. Apost. Anna reparatae , in: AAS 16 (1924), n.5 , p. 182ss.
  2. quoted from Kirmeier et al., P. 50.
  3. 1000 year old wall remains discovered in the Bamberg Cathedral . Website of the Archdiocese of Bamberg. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  4. Hubel 1997. Dehio Franken 1999, p. 90. The older late dating represented by von Winterfeld 1979.
  5. Bamberg Cathedral ( Memento from April 1, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  6. a b c d e f Quoted from Christian Dümler: The Bamberg Imperial Cathedral .
  7. Information about the bells. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  8. a b c Claus Peter: The voices of the cathedral - cathedral bells and tower clock. In: Norbert Jung, Wolfgang F. Reddig (Hrsg.): 1000 years of the Kaiserdom Bamberg - towards heaven. Michael Imhof, 2012, p. 202 f .
  9. ^ Claus Peter: Bells, bells and tower clocks in Bamberg . Heinrichs-Verlag, Bamberg 2008, pp. 46–49.
  10. ^ Claus Peter: Bells, bells and tower clocks in Bamberg . Heinrichs-Verlag, Bamberg 2008, p. 75.
  11. ^ A b Claus Peter: Bells, chimes and tower clocks in Bamberg . Heinrichs-Verlag, Bamberg 2008, p. 88.
  12. ^ Elisabeth Roths: Sankt Kunigunde - legend and picture statement . In: BHVB 123, 1987, pp. 55-64.
  13. Quoted from
  14. ^ A b Claus Peter: Bells, chimes and tower clocks in Bamberg . Heinrichs-Verlag, Bamberg 2008, pp. 41–64.
  15. From Alexander Schöppner: Bayrische Sagen, Sagenbuch der Bayerischen Lande . Volume 3, Munich 1854 ( quoted from )
  16. From Alexander Schöppner: Bayrische Sagen, Sagenbuch der Bayerischen Lande, Volume 1, Munich 1852 ( quoted from )
  17. ^ Otto von Freising : Gesta Friderici Imperatoris , MGH SS rer. Germ. 46, p.  98 , lines 23-32.
  18. a b Georg Thomas Rudhart: Of the king Konrad III. Graves in the dome of Bamberg . In: Archive for History and Archeology of Upper Franconia , Volume 3, Issue 2, Bayreuth 1846, pp. 101–107, here: p.  106 . Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  19. a b Peter Koblank: Staufer graves - facilities , Bamberg Cathedral (Germany) on Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  20. Pope Felix I († 274) was originally buried in the Calixtus catacomb in Rome. If his bones actually reached southern Germany later and are now in a coffin under the altar of the chapel of Heiligenberg Castle , there is another papal grave north of the Alps.
  21. Imperial tomb., accessed on June 21, 2018 .
  22. Information on the history of the cathedral organ (s) ( Memento from August 30, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  23. To the disposition ( Memento of August 29, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  24. Ulrich Theißen: Queen of Diversity. Present and history of the Bamberg organs , Eresing 2011, p. 82.
  25. Ibid.
  26. Imperial tomb., accessed on June 21, 2018 .
  27. Quoted from Christine Freise-Wonka: The Bamberg Cathedral. Experience a cathedral . Heinrichs, Bamberg 2002, ISBN 3-89889-035-X
  28. a b c Quoted from: Fränkischer Tag , May 8, 1987.
  29. Quoted from: Fränkischer Tag , May 8, 1987
  30. ^ Cathedral choir
  31. Eike Henning Michl: Of stone riders and forgotten dead - new (and old) archaeological research on Bamberg Cathedral . In: Rainer Atzbach / Patrick Cassitti / Hauke ​​Kenzler / Luitgard Löw (eds.): Archeology. Middle Ages - Modern Times - Future. Festschrift for Ingolf Ericsson . Bonn 2017, ISBN 978-3-7749-4096-3 , pp. 355-376 .
  32. Barbara Schrödl: "The stone book". A 'virtual' journey to a German monument in National Socialist Germany . In: Katrin Callsen, Regina Eickelkamp, ​​Martin Jörg Schäfer, Christian Berkemeier (eds.): From here to “Medium”. Travel certificate and media difference . LIT Verlag, Münster 2004, ISBN 3-8258-6797-8 , p. 153 ( Excerpts online [accessed December 27, 2012]).
  33. ^ Gerhard C. Krischker . Quoted from Fränkischer Tag , May 8, 1987

Coordinates: 49 ° 53 ′ 27 ″  N , 10 ° 52 ′ 57 ″  E

This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on August 2, 2006 .