Würzburg Cathedral

Würzburg Cathedral (German: Würzburger Dom) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany, dedicated to Saint Kilian. It is the seat of the Bishop of Würzburg. With an overall length of 105 metres it is the fourth largest Romanesque church building in Germany, and a masterpiece of German architecture from the Salian period.

History

The present cathedral, built from 1040 onwards by Bishop Bruno of Würzburg, reckoned to be the fourth largest Romanesque basilica in Germany, is the third church on the site: the previous two, built in about 787 and 855, were respectively destroyed and severely damaged by fire. After Bruno's accidental death in 1045, his successor Adalbero completed the building in 1075.

The side aisles were remodelled in about 1500 in the Late Gothic style. The stuccoist Pietro Magno decorated the cathedral in Baroque stucco work in 1701.

The greater part of the building collapsed in the winter of 1946 in consequence of the bombing of Würzburg on 16 March 1945. Reconstruction was completed in 1967, in the course of which the Baroque components were removed in favour of a re-Romanisation. The new interpretation emphasizes the contrast between the surviving historical parts of the structure, resulting in a sometimes controversial combination of predominantly Romanesque with modern and Baroque elements. The Neo-Romanesque west front with a rose window, the tripartite gallery and the opening for the clock were combined during the reconstruction with a plain pumice stone wall, and revealed again during renovation work up to November 2006. In 1988 the choir was redesigned by Hubert Elsässer.

Works of art

The cathedral contains numerous works of art, of which the following are of especial note:

  • baptismal font (1279), by Meister Eckart of Worms
  • impressive series of tombs and epitaphs of bishops, including the monumental effigies of the prince-bishops Rudolf II von Scherenberg (1495) and Lorenz von Bibra (1519), both by Tilman Riemenschneider
  • seven-armed candelabra (1981) by Andreas Moritz
  • Schönborn Chapel by Balthasar Neumann
  • crypt with cycle of stained glass by Georg Meistermann
Layout of main level of building
Organs

The main organ was built in 1969 by the organ builders Klais. There is a second organ for the choir, and a third is planned for 2010.

Bells

The cathedral today has 20 bells, with a total combined weight of 26 tons. The "Lobdeburg Bell", by Cunradus Citewar of Würzburg, the most prominent bellfounder of his time, dates from 1257, and, because it was taken down in 1933 and stored in the crypt, is the only ancient bell of the cathedral to have survived the firestorm caused by the bombing of 16 March 1945. It now hangs in the south-west tower and is rung every Friday at 3.00 p.m., to mark the hour of the death of Jesus Christ.

Würzburg Synod

Between 1971 and 1975 the Würzburg Synod convened in the cathedral at the wish of Cardinal Döpfner, to determine the application of the Second Vatican Council to Germany.

Images
  • Cathedral interior

  • Merovingian cross in the crypt

  • North transept and Schönborn Chapel

  • Schönborn Chapel

  • Face of Bishop Rudolf II von Scherenberg, from the monumental effigy by Tilman Riemenschneider

  • Tomb of Bishop Lorenz von Bibra by Tilman Riemenschneider

  • Sepulture

Building Activity

  • removed a media
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com