Imperial Palace Goslar

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Imperial Palace Goslar
UNESCO world heritage UNESCO World Heritage Emblem

The imperial house in Goslar
Imperial Palace Goslar
National territory: GermanyGermany Germany
Type: Culture
Criteria : (i) (ii) (iii) (iv)
Reference No .: 623
UNESCO region : Europe and North America
History of enrollment
Enrollment: 1992  (session 16)
Extension: 2010

The Kaiserpfalz Goslar covers an area of ​​about 340 by 180 meters, located at the foot of the Rammelsberg in the south of the city of Goslar , on which the Kaiserhaus , the former collegiate monasterySt. Simon and Judas , the Palatine Chapel St. Ulrich and the Liebfrauenkirche are or were.

The Kaiserhaus is the largest and at the same time best preserved secular building of the 11th century in Germany and is considered the largest secular building of its time. In particular, it served the Salier emperors as a preferred residence. The ensemble of buildings in the Kaiserpfalz was already so impressive in the 11th century that the chronicler Lampert von Hersfeld referred to it as the “most famous residence of the empire”.

Palatine district belongs since 1992 in cooperation with Goslar's Old Town and the former mine Rammelsberg for World Heritage of UNESCO .


The Palatinate District is located in the south of the city of Goslar. The area is dominated in the west by the north-south facing Kaiserhaus, the central building of the complex. To the north, separated by a small courtyard, the Liebfrauenkirche joined at right angles, of which nothing can be seen today. Their foundations are under the path that leads up to the imperial house. In the south, today connected to the imperial house by an arcade from the 19th century, is the Ulrich's Chapel. In the east, opposite the imperial house, stood the east-west facing collegiate church of St. Simon and Judas, of which only the northern vestibule has been preserved. The floor plan of the collegiate church is incorporated into the paving of the parking lot located there today. The residential and farm buildings of the canons, the houses of the ministerials and the imperial retinue as well as stables and storerooms also belonged to the Palatinate District. In addition, the entire district was surrounded by a wall.

Other nearby Falzes are in Dahlum and Werla .

The individual buildings in the Palatinate District

View from the tower of the Marktkirche St. Cosmas and Damian  to the Kaiserpfalz

The origins of the imperial palace can be traced back to a royal hunting court, as mentioned by Adam von Bremen for the Ottonian period. Already Henry II. Had to be erected in 1005 a first Pfalzbau in Goslar, the safe quickly proceeded to the rank because of the rich Rammelsberg Erzfunde the nearby mountain that far located Palatinate Werla. In the 1030s, Konrad II began to expand the facility by u. a. laid the foundation stone for the Liebfrauenkirche. The area was completed and at the same time led to its climax by his son, Heinrich III. In 1048 he appointed one of the most important builders of his time, the later Bishop of Osnabrück, Benno II. , To Goslar. Under his direction, the buildings that had been worked on since the 1040s were completed in the first half of the 1050s: a new imperial house (the one we know today) and the collegiate church “St. Simon and Jude ”. Further reconstruction or renewal measures of the hall building can be dated to the late 12th century based on the sparse remains of the building sculpture.

The original palatine chapel east of the hall building, an 11th century Church of Our Lady, no longer exists, but its floor plan has been secured by excavating the foundations. The younger palatinate chapel, a double chapel dedicated to St. Ulrich , is located further south in the immediate vicinity of the younger, no longer existing residential palace. In the meantime, it could safely be assigned to the first half of the 12th century, although the upper floor was only created in the course of a change of plan or a subsequent addition (probably in the second half of the 12th century).

Bronze sculptures in front of the Palatinate

The imperial house

The imperial house at night
The Kaisersaal in the Goslar Imperial Palace

With a length of 54 meters and a depth of 18 meters, the Kaiserhaus is the largest secular building of its time. The center of the imperial house is the two-storey hall building. It housed two halls 47 meters long and 15 meters deep one above the other. Both had a beam ceiling, which was supported in the middle by a row of columns. The upper hall is called the "summer hall". With six large arched openings and an equally strongly arched central area in its east facade, which probably led to an arbor, the room is “open to the outside” through the masonry. Possibly the "thingrecht" was satisfied, according to which a court should be held in the open air. The lower hall is called "Winter Hall". The east facade was only slightly broken through by small windows in various phases of expansion. In the winter hall there is warm air heating, as it is also found in Tilleda, Werla, Lichtenberg Castle in Salzgitter, in the old town hall in Göttingen and in other comparable buildings. This warm air heating should not be confused with the Roman hypocaust . Outside the hall to the west were two large ovens in which wood was burned. After the smoke and sparks had evaporated as much as possible, a barrier was removed and the warm air entered the hall through a duct. In the hall, two small channels in the middle of the room split off from the two large channels (here) on the left and right. At their ends there were locking stones that were closed with lids (probably made of metal). If the room was to be heated, the lids were removed and the heat could “flow” into the interior of the room. The hall could be used for meetings in bad weather.

Back of the Kaiserpfalz

In the north of the hall there was also a two-story residential building. Here, too, the upper floor was probably reserved for the imperial family. It offered direct access both to the upper hall and, probably via a gallery, to the neighboring Liebfrauenkirche.

Under Henry V , structural changes were made to the imperial house at the beginning of the 12th century. Heinrich V had a second apartment, almost identical to the older one, added at the southern end. In 1132 the hall building collapsed, but was immediately rebuilt. A transverse wing was inserted in the middle over the entire height of the building and a vestibule was placed in front of the central door on the ground floor, which now served as a balcony on the upper floor. A gable now protrudes from the previous slate-covered pitched roof. In addition, some windows were made lockable and a kind of underfloor heating was installed. The window arcades in the basement were replaced by rectangular windows.

At the foot of the southern flight of stairs there are remains of the foundation that cannot yet be assigned to a specific construction phase.

The former collegiate foundation “St. Simon and Jude "

The collegiate church

Floor plan of the collegiate church “St. Simon and Judas " (after: Dehio / von Bezold: Kirchliche Baukunst des Abendlandes . Stuttgart, 1887–1901)

The canons once celebrated their services in a three-aisled basilica with a transept, three east apses and a westwork with two octagonal towers and an intermediate bell storey as well as a simple paradise . There was a crypt under the choir and another tower over the crossing . The church was consecrated on July 2, 1051 by Archbishop Hermann of Cologne to the birthday saints of Henry III, Simon and Jude . At that time, the basilica was the largest Romanesque church building on the right side of the Rhine and became the model for numerous comparable buildings in northern Germany, for example for the Braunschweig Cathedral . A number of important ecclesiastical dignitaries of the empire emerged from the monastery.

In 1819 the monastery, often referred to as the " Goslar Cathedral ", was sold for demolition.

The "cathedral vestibule"

Cathedral vestibule of the former collegiate church

Around 1150, a vestibule was added to the north portal of the collegiate church, which has been preserved as the last remnant of the building complex, with the former north portal of the cathedral now forming the rear wall of the vestibule. Two rows of niches adorn the front of the vestibule with originally colored stucco sculptures. The upper row shows Mary with the baby Jesus in the middle, framed on both sides by candlesticks and angels, whereby the original angel figures have been lost and have been replaced by paintings. The lower row shows from left to right Emperor Heinrich III., The patron saints of the cathedral Simon, Matthias and Judas and another imperial figure that cannot be clearly identified.

In this hall, which is correctly referred to as the “vestibule of the collegiate church of St. Simon and Judas”, a copy of the armrests of the Kaiserstuhl , which was originally located in the collegiate church, is displayed. The original is located - exhibited in a museum - in one of the lower vaults of the imperial house. The bronze side and back rests, decorated with tendrils, date from the second half of the 11th century, while the sandstone barriers surrounding the actual seat are somewhat younger. They adorn Romanesque animal figures and mythical creatures. The Kaiserstuhl could have served as the throne seat for Heinrich IV., Rudolf von Schwaben (von Rheinfelden) or Hermann von Salm . They were all in Goslar at the time the throne was established, Hermann was even anointed king in St. Simon and Jude. The Kaiserstuhl is next to the throne of Charlemagne in Aachen and that (of Heinrich II.?) In the west crypt of St. Emmeram in Regensburg the only surviving throne of a Roman emperor of the Middle Ages. It was acquired by Prince Carl of Prussia in the 1840s and placed in the medieval-style cloister courtyard of his Glienicke Palace near Potsdam . In this way, when it came into the possession of the Hohenzollern family, the Kaiserstuhl also served as the seat of Kaiser Wilhelm I when the first German Reichstag was opened on March 21, 1871.

The Palatine Chapel of St. Ulrich

Ulrichskapelle interior view
Back of the Ulrich chapel

The lower chapel of the St. Ulrich double chapel is a cross-shaped central building with four round apses in the style of a tetraconchus . The north and south arms of the cross also have smaller lateral apses. Only the east apse, reconstructed in the 19th century, extends beyond the outer cross shape. The upper chapel is octagonal, with the connection to the cross-shaped lower chapel via trumpet vaults . Such a construction is unique in Germany and can be explained by the subsequent increase in the chapel. The apse of the upper chapel sits above the main apse of the lower chapel. Inside, a square opening above the crossing creates the connection between the lower chapel and the upper chapel. Four central pillars on the upper floor, which rest over the four inner wall corners of the ground floor, gave rise to talk of a four-pillar construction as it was developed in the Syrian-Persian region, and in the first half of the 20th century an origin from there about the ideal Armenian form of the cathedral of Bagaran . Art historians also attested Armenian role models to the outside niches that were intercepted with trumpets. The upper chapel was originally reserved for the imperial family and was directly adjacent to the residential palace to the north. Another connection is a stair tower that is located between the north and west arms of the cross. From this tower, the Ulrich chapel was also connected by a corridor to the southern - younger - living room of the imperial family.

In the lower chapel, right in the center of the cross, there is a sarcophagus today, the cover plate of which is adorned with a sculpture made around the middle of the 13th century: the life-size, reclining Henry III, his head resting on a pillow, a dog lying at his feet , in the right hand the scepter , in the left a model of a church. The sarcophagus contains the heart of Henry III (in an octagonal, gold-plated capsule) . which remained in Goslar at his request and has been kept in the Ulrich's Chapel since 1884.

The Liebfrauenkirche

The Church of Our Lady (Palatine Chapel "Sanctae Mariae virginis"; also Marienkapelle) consisted of a central square building with a side length of almost 10 meters, which was joined by three apses in the east and a westwork with two round towers on the opposite side. The building was two-story. The ground floor with access on the south side was intended for "simple staff". The upper floor, which was probably laid out with marble, was also used by the imperial family and had a direct connection to the imperial house from the westwork.

The curia building

Curia buildings belonged to the Palatinate District . They stood like B. the Vicariate Curia in the "Domburg", the narrower collegiate church area, which was surrounded by a wall. Other curia buildings such as the “von Steinberg” and “Herlinberg” boundaries in the north and south of the area called “Kaiserbleek” between the collegiate church and the imperial house.

The parish church of St. Thomas

The St. Thomas Church stood in the northeast corner of the so-called Domburg. It was originally used as a (churchyard) chapel for burials of the staff of the Ss. Simon and Judas were built. After the so-called mountain village, in which the royal palace of Goslar had originally been located, was abandoned by more and more residents after the construction of the city wall and they now settled within the walled area, the original parish church of the mountain village, St. Johannis, lost more and more Meaning. After the violent destruction of the church, the built-on hospital building by the miners and the remaining construction of the mountain village in July 1527, the parish rights were transferred to the St. Thomas Chapel. It was now the parish church of the Palatinate District. The parish bordered in the northwest on St. Peter and Paul (Frankenberg), in the north on Ss. Cosmas and Damian at the market and in the east at St. Stephani .


The Palatinate is one of the five palace complexes in today's Lower Saxony ( Dahlum , Werla , Grona , Pöhlde ).

The Palatinate District was the scene of significant historical events, for example:

  • On November 11, 1050, Heinrich IV was born in the Palatinate District.
  • In the late summer of 1056, Pope Viktor II was Henry III's guest for several weeks. in the Kaiserpfalz. He was also present when he died in Bodfeld am Harz and then organized the takeover of government by Heinrich's widow, Empress Agnes .
  • On Pentecost 1063, the " Goslarer Rangstreit " ( Goslarer Rangstreit ) in the cathedral led to a bloodbath, which was witnessed by the young Heinrich IV. A dispute broke out between Bishop Hezilo von Hildesheim and Abbot Widerad von Fulda about the seating arrangement, which ended in half-day, bloody slaughter.
  • In the summer of 1073 Heinrich IV had to flee from the rebellious Saxons from the imperial palace to the nearby Harzburg .
  • At Christmas 1075 Heinrich IV. Received a letter from Pope Gregory VII in Goslar , in which he threatened excommunication: the investiture controversy began.
  • In 1081 Henry IV's rival king, Hermann von Salm , had himself crowned and anointed in the Palatinate.
  • From 1152 to 1188 the imperial palace was partly the venue and partly the subject of the dispute between Emperor Friedrich I and Duke Heinrich the Lion .
  • In July 1219, Friedrich II held a Reichstag in the imperial palace and was presented with the imperial insignia that Otto IV had kept in the Harzburg.

Decay and restoration

Model of the imperial palace before restoration in the 19th century
Contemporary model of the imperial palace before restoration in 1868
Goslar Imperial Palace before and during the repairs in 1868
Copies of the Brunswick lion in front of the imperial palace
One of the copies

1253 was the last time a German king stayed in the Palatinate with Wilhelm von Holland . After that, the facility began to decline. In 1289 a fire destroyed many buildings to their foundations. The younger residential building was then demolished down to the foundation. The following year the Palatinate District became the property of the city of Goslar. For a while, the hall building served as a court, partly for the Goslar city bailiff and partly as a Saxon regional court, but it was also always used as a storage room or pantry. So served z. B. both the halls of the imperial house and the older residential building in the middle of the 16th century as a granary. The Ulrichskapelle was used as a prison from 1575 (which, however, contributed significantly to its preservation). The towers of the Liebfrauenkirche collapsed in 1672, the rest of the church in 1722, the stones were sold as building material. The cathedral was first mentioned as early as 1331 when the walls collapsed, and in 1530 a tower collapsed. In 1802 only a ruin was left, which was sold for demolition on July 19, 1819 for 1,504 thalers. Only the northern vestibule remained and today gives a small impression of the former size of the cathedral.

In 1865 walls collapsed again in the imperial house, and the Goslar council considered demolishing it, but this could be averted. Instead, a state commission recommended that the building be restored. Construction work began on August 14, 1868. On August 15, 1875, Kaiser Wilhelm I visited the construction site, giving the project national significance. In 1879 the restoration of the building was completed. The result is viewed critically today, because the construction project went beyond an authentic restoration: In the national exuberance of the time, the building was increased to monumental and various building sins committed. The arcade from the Kaiserhaus to the Ulrichskapelle, the open staircase in front of the eastern front, the two replicas of the Braunschweig lion and the equestrian statues of Emperors Barbarossa and Wilhelm I (built in 1900/01, inscribed "Wilhelm der Große", without any historical reference), changes to the Window openings in the basement are the most obvious. Inside the building, too , the monumental, historicizing wall paintings created by Hermann Wislicenus between 1879 and 1897 bear witness to the national elation of that time.

In 1913/14 and again in 1922, Uvo Hölscher carried out archaeological investigations in the Palatinate District, thanks to which the foundations of the Liebfrauenkirche were rediscovered.

Wislicenus' mural in the imperial palace

Wislicenus' mural in the imperial palace
Apotheosis of the Empire
Barbarossa's awakening
Charlemagne falls the Irmin column
Diet of Worms 1521

Hermann Wislicenus painted the summer hall of the imperial palace from 1877 to 1890 with pictures from history and legend that put the Hohenzollern Empire in the tradition of the Roman-German emperors .

The largest picture in the middle of the room shows the apotheosis of the empire: in the center of the picture, Wilhelm I rides , behind him, also on horseback, his son and heir to the throne Friedrich Wilhelm . To the left of Wilhelm are two young women in long, light-colored robes who personify Lorraine and Alsace . Both carry their main church, the cathedral of Metz and the Strasbourg cathedral , in their hands. To Wilhelm's right stands Bismarck , depicted with a column base and hammer as the builder of the new empire . On the left side of the picture you can see the German princes, in front the Bavarian King Ludwig II , who hands Wilhelm a crown. On the right side of the picture sit the wives of Wilhelm I and his son, Augusta and Victoria . The boy standing there is the future Kaiser Wilhelm II. Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire , among them Friedrich I Barbarossa, float in the sky above the scene . Wilhelm I's mother, Queen Luise , hovers towards him from above with a crown.

The wall paintings grouped around the largest mural on the long west wall and on the narrow sides in the north and south correspond thematically to match the symmetry of the hall.

The fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty is depicted on the narrow side in the south . It is intended to symbolize that the old empire did not perish in 1806, but fell into a long sleep and was awakened again by the establishment of the empire in 1871 .

Opposite on the narrow side in the north, Friedrich I Barbarossa can be seen climbing out of the Kyffhauser with a sword in hand . In the upper right corner an eagle is flying , chasing away the ravens . In the picture, Friedrich I wears the facial features of Wilhelm I and looks in his direction.

Also on the south side: the fall of the Irminsul by Charlemagne in 772.

Opposite on the north side: Luther before Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521.

On the west side to the left of the large painting:

On the west side to the right of the large painting:

The Palatinate today

Today the Kaiserpfalz is one of the outstanding tourist attractions of the city of Goslar and the entire Harz region. The imperial house can be visited daily, guided tours are offered. The older living room is used for administration and exhibition purposes. Also in the Goslar Museum (city museum) you can find exhibits from the Palatinate District, v. a. from the monastery of St. Simon and Judas, z. B. the Krodo altar and some choir windows.

Since 1992, the Palatinate District, together with the Goslar old town and the Goslar Rammelsberg mine, have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The sculpture "Goslar Warriors" by Henry Moore, the bearer of the Kaiserring , has stood in the Pfalzgarten behind the Kaiserhaus since 1975 . On warmer summer evenings, the large meadow around the two statues in front of the Kaiserpfalz used to be a popular meeting place for people of all kinds. Now there is a ban on alcohol and gatherings on the entire site.


  • Monika Arndt: The Goslar imperial palace as a national monument. An iconographic study. Lax, Hildesheim 1976. ISBN 3-7848-4011-6
  • Monika Arndt: The whitebeard on the redbeard's throne. Medieval and Prussian empire in the murals of the Goslar imperial family. Goltze, Göttingen 1977.
  • Hans-Günther Griep: Goslar's Palatinate District and the Cathedral Curia , manuscript for members of the Museumsverein Goslar eV, Goslar 1967.
  • Mathias Haenchen: The medieval building history of the Goslar Palatine Chapel St. Ulrich. Braunschweig, Univ., Diss., 1998
  • Uvo Hölscher : Die Kaiserpfalz Goslar (contributions to the history of the city of Goslar, volume 43). Special volume, reprint of the 1927 edition with an introduction by Martin Möhle, Bielefeld 1996 - ISBN 3-89534-175-4
  • Uvo Hölscher: The Kaiserpfalz zu Goslar ( Small Art Guide for Lower Saxony , Issue 14). 6th edition. Musterschmidt, Göttingen 1988.
  • Tillmann Lohse: The duration of the foundation - a diachronic comparative history of the secular collegiate monastery St. Simon and Judas in Goslar . 2011. ISBN 978-3-05-005665-4
  • Hartmut Rötting : Kaiserpfalz Goslar. The early Ottonian residential tower in the early 10th century and the late Tonic Palatinate on the Liebfrauenberg in the early 11th century. In: Mamoun Fansa , Frank Both, Henning Haßmann (editor): Archeology | Land | Lower Saxony. 400,000 years of history. State Museum for Nature and People, Oldenburg 2004. Pages 578–582.
  • Hans-Georg Uhl: The imperial palace Goslar. 2nd Edition. City administration, Goslar 1958.
  • Carl Wolff (ed.): The art monuments of the province of Hanover. Vol. II, 1 u. 2, City of Goslar, Hanover 1901.
  • Cathedral Church - Former Collegiate Church of St. Simon and Judah. In: Helga Wäß: Form and Perception of Central German Memory Sculpture in the 14th Century. 2 Bde., Tenea, Berlin 2006. Volume 2: Catalog of selected objects from the High Middle Ages to the beginning of the 15th century. ISBN 3-86504-159-0
  • Hans Adolf Schultz : Burgen und Schlösser des Braunschweiger Land , Braunschweig 1980, Die Kaiserpfalz Goslar , pp. 102-105, ISBN 3-87884-012-8

Web links

Commons : Kaiserpfalz Goslar  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Mathias Haenchen: The medieval building history of the Goslar Palatine Chapel St. Ulrich. Braunschweig, Univ., Diss., 1998
  2. ^ Oskar Schürer: Romanesque double chapels: A type-historical investigation. In: Marburger Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft , 5. Vol. 1929, pp. 99–192, here pp. 125, 129

Coordinates: 51 ° 54 ′ 10 ″  N , 10 ° 25 ′ 33 ″  E