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Imperial Cathedral of St. Mary in Speyer
The largest surviving Romanesque church in the world

The imperial cathedral in Speyer is one of the most important buildings from the Romanesque period. Since the destruction of Cluny Abbey it is the largest surviving Romanesque church in the world. Once the largest ecclesiastical building of the Christian world, it is an impressive monument of Romanesque architecture, a unique testament to medieval ideas and the most significant legacy of the Salians.
The Salian Emperor Conrad II commissioned the building around 1030, intending to create the largest church in the western world. Laid out in the shape of a Latin cross, the imperial cathedral is one on the greatest Romanesque churches, not least in its physical dimensions. It was also the burial site for Salian emperors. Dedicated to St. Mary and St. Stephen, the cathedral was built in two main phases, from 1025 to 1061 and 1082 to 1106, and is closely associated with medieval imperial rule. The hall crypt, one of the most beautiful in the world, is the last resting place of Salian kings and emperors, Hohenstaufen and Habsburg rulers - a whole dynasty which shaped European history for more than a hundred years.
The crypt, which was completed in 1041, is one of the largest of its kind. The imperial vault contains the tombs of the four Salian emperors, two empresses, four kings and a number of bishops. The chime of the cathedral consists of nine bells. On the square outside the main cathedral door stands the "cathedral bowl", first mentioned in 1314, with a capacity of 1,560 litres. It once represented the boundary between episcopal and municipal territory. Following ancient tradition, it is still filled with wine on special occasions. The imperial cathedral is a world heritage site, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
As the burial site for Salian, Hohenstaufen and Habsburg rulers and their wives, the cathedral represents a symbol of medieval imperial power. Particularly noteworthy is the hall crypt, the largest Romanesque columned hall in Europe, which has remained unchanged to this day. The imperial vault contains the tombs of eight kings and emperors - along with their wives and a number of bishops - a whole dynasty that shaped European destiny for more than a hundred years. The cathedral is not open to visitors during services or concerts, guided tours on request.



A6, A61, A67, train station