Kaiser- und Mariendom zu Speyer / Cathédrale de Spire
Speyer Cathedral, a basilica with four towers and two domes, was founded by Conrad II in 1030 and remodelled at the end of the 11th century. It is one of the most important Romanesque monuments from the time of the Holy Roman Empire. The cathedral was the burial place of the German emperors for almost 300 years.
Speyer Cathedral exerted a considerable influence not only on the development of Romanesque architecture in the 11th and 12th centuries, but also on the evolution of the principles of restoration in Germany, in Europe, and in the world from the 18th century to the present.
The cathedral, along with those of Worms and Mainz, is a major monument of Romanesque art. It is, by virtue of its proportions, the largest, and, by virtue of the history to which it is linked (the Salic emperors made it their place of burial), the most important.
The cathedral, dedicated to St Mary and St Stephen, was founded by Conrad II and was built essentially between 1030 and 1106. It incorporates the general layout of St Michael of Hildesheim and brings to perfection a type of plan that was adopted generally in the Rhineland. This plan is characterized by the equilibrium of the eastern and western blocks and by the symmetrical and singular placement of the towers which frame the mass formed by the nave and the transept. Under Henry IV renovations and extensions were undertaken.
Speyer Cathedral is the first known structure to be built with a gallery that encircles the whole building. The system of arcades added during these renovations was also a first in architectural history.