Churches, Crypts, and Pretzels??

Last weekend we went to the little town of Speyer, Germany at the suggestion of a friend.  She said that the town was having a Pretzel Festival (totally cool!) and had the largest example of a Romanesque Cathedral in Germany (double cool!)  We set off mid morning and got there before lunch.  We decided to see the church first and then find lunch 🙂   
When we got to the walkplatz area ( a completely car-free zone where only people can walk, shop, and eat), it was obvious there had been some sort of running race through the town.  People were still sitting along the side, and I told Jon that it almost seemed like there would be a parade later or something.   We headed down to the church.  This was our first view – it is in the center with the green tower roof tops.  
Turning the other way, there was an original tower for the town.  These walkplatzes are always very pretty and very busy.  The cities do a nice job of keeping flowers and trees and such blooming and groomed, so they are a beautiful place to walk through.


 Maypole with shields – not sure of their significance 

 This was another church maybe 1000 feet from the cathedral we were going to tour.  It was on the street behind the walkplatz and was ‘newer,’ by European standards 😉

                                                  Speyer Cathedral

 View down the side of the cathedral

We knew before we went in that it would be amazing.  We weren’t disappointed.  This was the first cathedral either of us have been inside of this magnitude and age.  The cathedral was commissioned in 1024, but construction didn’t start until 1030.  It is the largest Romanesque Cathedral in Germany.  I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story 🙂

Walking in the ‘front’ entrance.  View down to the alter – seating is on left and right of aisle
Main entrance door

Main entrance is on the left of the photo

Looking up at the murals – notice there is no stained glass – very unusual for this style of church

Left seating area

 Confessionals – there were 4 identical ones in the church

From the alter looking back to the entry door
 One entrance to the crypt

This cathedral is designed in the image of a ‘cross’, as most cathedrals were in the time.  This section is left side of the church or where the ‘left hand’ would be for a crucifix. The two lights were where people could kneel for individual prayers.

Main alter which would be the center of a cross

Looking straight up at the domed ceiling over the alter
View across the alter – from left looking to right
 View back down the left aisle – the wooden ‘boxes’ are the confessionals

And then we went into the crypt!!  I’ll be honest, I was VERY excited.  It was our first crypt, ever, and absolutely amazing 🙂  They had original hand copied bibles with hand drawn and colored pictures.  I can’t remember what the pictures are called, but pretty sure they have a technical name.

 Alter with small seating area

 The crypt was dimly lit and different than I expected.  It was cool in temperature, which I did expect, but had high ceilings and was much more open than I anticipated.  It had a prayer area which would probably be able to accommodate 50+ people.

This was where the actual kings were buried.

 This tomb was in the side of the wall and upon ‘translating’ it roughly with my 2 years of Latin from Mr. Poland, determined that it was Henry V!  Thanks Mr. Poland 🙂

 We walked out of the cathedral and the parade was about to begin on the walkplatz.  The flags marked the beginning of the parade!  Notice how there are a LOT of people, but enough room that we could still be on the front row so Madelyn could see the different groups.

 This was a group of ladies in dirndls – the dresses you usually think of when you think of Germany.  Apparently, we’ve all been duped into thinking this is how women used to dress!  I’ve been told that it was sort of a ‘marketing ploy’ by Bavaria to get people to visit area.  Nonetheless, when in southern Germany, you will see lots of women wearing them as their uniform while at work.  They are expensive to buy – I’ve seen ones in Madelyn’s size for like 70 Euro (almost $100!) so she doesn’t have one yet 😉

Most parade floats in the US toss candy (if they can throw anything), but this parade threw pretzels!  It was kinda cool 🙂

And this float was for a farming group and threw fresh carrots!  Germany is awesome!

Churches, crypts, and pretzels seemed to be the perfect way to spend a Sunday in Germany 🙂