Speyer Cathedral

It’s the largest Romanesque church in the world and a true marvel of religious architecture. In a small German town, Speyer Cathedral dominates the skyline.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. He has been a journalist for more than 20 years and has travelled the world full time since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


Speyer Cathedral, Speyer, Germany

On the Rhine River, about 100 kilometres south of Frankfurt and before it hits the French border, is the largest Romanesque church in the world.

Speyer Cathedral, Speyer, Germany

It’s called Speyer Cathedral and although it’s in a town of only about 50,000 people, it has been one of the most important churches in Europe for almost a thousand years.

Speyer Cathedral is an impressive building – not just for the sheer size of it but because of the influence it has had on architecture in Europe.

Speyer Cathedral, Speyer, Germany

Architecturally, Speyer Cathedral broke new ground as the first structure to have a gallery encircling the whole building and an innovative system of arcades.

Today, it doesn’t look unusual – but the construction work done here helped develop techniques that enabled many of the other grand churches in the region to flourish.

Speyer Cathedral, Speyer, Germany

The first construction of Speyer Cathedral was in 1030 and a subsequent renovation in 1077 made it the first and largest consistently vaulted church in Europe.

Over the centuries there have been other changes to the main design of the building – adding on and improving the original design.

Speyer Cathedral, Speyer, Germany

Walking in, the first thing that strikes you is how deep it goes and how the beautiful symmetry creates such a sense of space. The interior is decorated quite simply without some of the grand art in other German churches.

However, look closely – and you’ll see how the bricks of slightly different colours that the columns are built with create a mottling effect that brings the stone to life.

Speyer Cathedral, Speyer, Germany

For 300 years, Speyer Cathedral was the burial site of the German leaders and some of the most important kings and emperors still have their tombs in the fully preserved crypt.

Historically, the cathedral is a symbol of imperial power and the close links between the monarchy and the Catholic Church. It was used as a tool to take and maintain power – by both the church and the state.

The layout and some of the design is still based on this struggle for authority.

Speyer Cathedral, Speyer, Germany
Speyer Cathedral, Speyer, Germany

Visiting Speyer Cathedral

The main part of the building is free for visitors but it’s worth paying the admission fee to see the Imperial Hall above the main entrance with its large artwork and climb one of the towers to the viewing platform with its vistas across the city.

Be warned – there are a lot of stairs, but the perspective of the cathedral from the tower gives an excellent insight into the architectural design and external features.

Speyer Cathedral, Speyer, Germany

Inside the main part of the church, make sure you go down into the crypt to see the tombs of the kings.

Also, there is often an art display at the back behind the altar with a mix of classical and contemporary pieces.

Speyer Cathedral, Speyer, Germany

Although larger churches have been built in Germany since Speyer Cathedral was first constructed, it is still a grand and impressive building.

Once you consider all the history beneath its nave, it gives the site even more significance.

Where is Speyer Cathedral?

Speyer Cathedral is located at Domplatz, 67346, Speyer, Germany.

You can see it on a map here.

How do you get to Speyer Cathedral?

To get to Speyer Cathedral, catch the train to Speyer and then you can walk there in about 15 minutes.

When is Speyer Cathedral open?

Speyer Cathedral is open at the following times:
November – March: 0900 – 1700
April – October: 0900 – 1900

How much does it cost to visit Speyer Cathedral?

Entry to the cathedral is free but ticket prices to see the Emperor’s Hall and climb to the top cost €6 for an adults and €3 for a concession.

More information

You can find out more information on the Speyer Cathedral website.


There aren’t a lot of accommodation choices in Speyer but there are some lovely places at relatively affordable rates.


It’s very basic but Boardinghouse La Grotta is probably the cheapest room in Speyer.


For something affordable and comfortable, ibis Styles Speyer is a good choice.


With a modern take on a historic building, Hotel Goldener Engel is a lovely place.


And when it comes to luxury, Lindner Hotel has a large spa as part of the property.

Time Travel Turtle was supported by DB Bahn, the German National Tourist Board and Youth Hostels in Germany but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.


This site is on the UNESCO World Heritage List!
I'm on a mission to visit as many World Heritage Sites as I can. Only about 800 more to go... eek!

4 thoughts on “Speyer Cathedral”

    • Oh, yes, I discovered that when I did 39 World Heritage Sites in 30 days!! I really enjoyed visiting the places I hadn’t heard of before – most tourists know Berlin and Munich an a couple of other key sites but there’s heaps of history and varied culture across Germany.


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