The Rheinische Kaiserdome - excursion destinations with historical depth

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The cathedral of Mainz from the market

Join us on a journey to the Rheinische Kaiserdomen, a true architectural wonder in the heart of the Rhineland. The Kaiserdome are three of the oldest and most important churches in Germany and are often referred to as the crown jewels of German Romanesque.

The Imperial and Mariendom zu Speyer, the Dom St. Peter zu Worms and the Hoher Dom zu Mainz are the three imperial cathedrals that can be found in this region. Its importance to the Holy Roman Empire and its unique architecture make it an unmissable destination for anyone interested in history and architecture.

The Kaiser- und Mariendom zu Speyer is the largest surviving Romanesque church in the world and was once the coronation church of the German kings. Worms Cathedral is considered the most important Romanesque building in and around Worms and was the scene of important historical events such as the Worms Concordat and the wedding of Emperor Friedrich. The High Cathedral of Mainz, on the other hand, is a symbol of power and represents a unique blend of different architectural eras.

On this journey you will discover the fascinating history of these buildings and admire the beauty of the Rhenish imperial cathedrals. Whether you are interested in architecture, history or just the beauty of old churches, the Rheinische Kaiserdome are an absolute must on your itinerary through Germany.

The Rhenish imperial cathedrals

Who in the central Upper Rhine in Rheinland-Pfalz is on the road will hardly be able to avoid some of the oldest cities in Germany. Its historical cultural heritage is shaped by hundreds of years of history and still fascinates people today as it did in the past. We are talking about the cities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz, all of which owe their ancient origins to the Rhine.

But not only the Rhine, as a natural link, unites the historical places with each other. It is also the three masterpieces of sacred architecture – the so-called Rhenish Imperial Cathedrals – that connect them. These magnificent buildings got their name because of their special connection to the medieval Holy Roman Empire.

Today they are not only breathtaking and wonderful destinations, but also testimonies to a history that has lasted for centuries. Visitors can be enchanted by the beauty and uniqueness of these buildings and at the same time immerse themselves deeply in history. And when you've had enough of the imperial cathedrals, you can relax and enjoy the fascinating panorama of the Rhine, which connects the three cities.

The imperial and Mariendom to Speyer

Once upon a time, the Romans founded a place they called Civitas Nemetum, capital of the Nemeters. Later, the small town on the Rhine was to become an important city for the German Empire, called Speyer. So it happened that the then king and later emperor Konrad II had the vision of building the largest church in the West - he gave the order in 1025.

After its completion, when neither Konrad nor his son were still alive, Heinrich IV, Konrad's grandson, decided that the cathedral was not big enough, had it torn down on one side and rebuilt even larger. In this form it lasted for several centuries before being set on fire by French troops during the Palatinate War of Succession. The following years are characterized by conversions and new buildings at the cathedral. This is also one of the reasons why so many different architectural styles can be found on the building today: Baroque, Neo-Romanesque and of course the Romanesque itself.

Who is a little interested in architecture and styles, will undoubtedly not be omitted, that the Cathedral of Speyer, as Destination Then, as today, there were innumerable appearances of architectural development throughout central Europe. But even those visitors who have not developed an intense interest in the individual styles, will for a brief moment hold their breath to take in the oppressive beauty and sheer size of the building.

Even looking into it will hardly mitigate the impression conveyed by the building. Whether crypt, burial place of the kings and emperors, the two-storey Viertor or the Afra chapel, they all create an unforgettable overall picture of the architectural arts and tastes of the time, as well as the ecclesiastical power.

Do you want more about the Sights in Speyer know, then have a look at people abroad.


Worms Cathedral © Copyright Marcus Heinze, doatrip
Worms Cathedral © Copyright Marcus Heinze, doatrip


The Cathedral St. Peter to Worms

Worms, also known as the city of the Nibelungs and the oldest city in Germany, has the smallest of the three Rhenish imperial cathedrals. Its foundation stone was laid in the 11th century on the foundations of the city's former Roman forum. In contrast to Speyer Cathedral, it was not an emperor who laid the foundation stone, but Bishop Burchard von Worms.

Shortly after completion, however, a large part of the building collapsed again, so that the cathedral had to be rebuilt from around the middle of the 12th century. This building essentially corresponds to the Worms Cathedral we know today. Although small, the Worms Cathedral has witnessed many important events such as the Worms Concordat, the marriage of Emperor Frederick, the Diet of Worms and the outlawing of Martin Luther by Emperor Charles V.

Today, the Worms Cathedral is the most important Romantic building in and around Worms and also serves as the burial place of imperial families. If you wander through the winding streets of Worms, you will definitely see the cathedral towering as high as a house and hold your breath.


The Mainz Cathedral © Copyright Marcus Heinze, doatrip
The Mainz Cathedral © Copyright Marcus Heinze, doatrip


The High Cathedral of Mainz

The Mainz Cathedral is further down the Rhine and is the last of the beautiful ones excursions. The pompous towers of the sacred building can be seen from afar and you can understand why it was also called the stone symbol of power. Its history goes back over 1000 years, when Archbishop Willigis laid the foundation stone.

In the years that followed, the cathedral developed its current architectural mix, which includes Romanized elements, Gothic architecture and Baroque finishes. Although the building often had to deal with natural disasters and wars, it was always rebuilt. Emperor Henry IV played an important role in this context, when he had the cathedral rebuilt after its destruction in the 11th century, using definitive forms of the Lombard architectural style.

As with the other two cathedrals, whether you are on the Markt, Höfchen or Liebfrauenplatz, you get an inner sense of why this building more than deserves the title of Kaiserdom. The outstanding size, artistic decorations, interior chapels and mystical crypts tell a story that could not be more coherent. For lovers of art historical and architectural epochs, the Mainz Cathedral should be a master recommendation that will leave an unforgettable impression.

Questions and answers about the Rhenish imperial cathedrals

What are the Rhenish imperial cathedrals?

The Rhenish Imperial Cathedrals are three churches in the Rhineland that were of particular importance for the Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages and were therefore given the name "Imperial Cathedral". These are the Imperial and Mariendom in Speyer, the Dom St. Peter in Worms and the High Cathedral Mainz.

What is special about the Imperial and Mariendom in Speyer?

The Imperial and Mariendom in Speyer is the largest preserved Romanesque church in the world. It is also considered one of the most important buildings of the Middle Ages. It was built on behalf of Emperor Konrad II in the 11th century. It has also been rebuilt several times over the centuries.

How does Worms Cathedral differ from other imperial cathedrals?

In contrast to the other imperial cathedrals, Worms Cathedral was not initiated by an emperor but by the bishop of Worms. It was built in the 11th century on the foundations of the city's former Roman forum. After collapsing, it had to be rebuilt in the 12th century. Worms Cathedral is considered the most important Romanesque building in and around Worms.

What makes the High Cathedral in Mainz a masterpiece of architecture?

The High Cathedral in Mainz is an architectural mix from different eras. These have been shaped by natural disasters and wars over the centuries. Particularly noteworthy are the Romanized elements, the Gothic architecture and the Baroque finishes. The cathedral was built in the 11th century on the initiative of Archbishop Willigis. It is also a symbol of power.

Which historical events are associated with the Rhenish imperial cathedrals?

The Rhenish imperial cathedrals have a close connection to the history of the Holy Roman Empire. In particular, the Imperial and Mariendom in Speyer serves as the final resting place of numerous German emperors and kings. Worms Cathedral, on the other hand, was the scene of important events such as the Worms Concordat. It was also the scene of the wedding of Emperor Friedrich and the outlawing of Martin Luther by Emperor Charles V. The High Cathedral of Mainz also played a role in the promotion of Emperor Heinrich IV. Over the course of the centuries it was also repeatedly marked by important historical events.

Travel Arrangements

Parking at the airport

Here you can reserve your parking space at the airport.

How to get there

Arrival by plane, bus or train*. There are flights to Frankfurt or Berlin. From there, for example, you can travel by train. Flixbus also offers bus trips to some destinations.

Rental car

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Camper Rentals:

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The Rheinische Kaiserdome - excursion destinations with historical depth

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