Churches and monasteries of Bamberg

Churches and monasteries of BambergMonastery of the Carmelites

Reportings about Bamberg. Part III

In "Franconian Rome", as the ancient German city of Bamberg, there are about a dozen temples, monasteries and chapels. Some of them were laid a thousand years ago during the life of the founders of this city and the local bishopric – Henry II and Kunigunde of Luxembourg.

For the old churches and monasteries of Bamberg, the centuries did not pass without a trace. They suffered from fires, were plundered during various wars and administrative Napoleonic reforms, were reconstructed according to a new architectural fashion. Mixing of styles is found everywhere. The main tone is now set by baroque and rococo, especially – in the interior, but the main temple – the Imperial Cathedral – belongs to the Roman era, but this monument we will devote a separate report, but for now we will get acquainted with several other sights.

Photo gallery: Ancient temples "Franconian Rome"

  • Churches and monasteries of BambergWalking in Bamberg – III

St. Stephen’s Temple

In Bamberg there is a unique church in two respects at once – the temple of St. Stephen (Sankt Stephan). Firstly, it is considered the only church to the north of the Alps, which the pope personally consecrated. Secondly, at the beginning of the XIX century the church passed to the Evangelical community and is now the only Protestant church in the world, which was once consecrated by the Pope. True, nothing was saved from the original building.

The Church of St. Stephen was laid on one of the seven hills of Bamberg by its founders – the future emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation Henry II and his wife – the empress Kunigunda in 1009, at that time – the German king and queen. Henry II became the last German king and emperor of the Ottonian dynasty. In the time of these rulers, the East Frankish Kingdom became the most powerful state formation in Western Europe.

Unlike its predecessors, the main activity to strengthen the empire, he deployed north of the Alps, focusing on the Christianization of peoples in the eastern lands. Henry II vigorously strengthened the church, created new bishoprics, transferred lands to monasteries. He wanted them to play a more important role in supporting the imperial power, including providing and maintaining part of the army.

Bamberg, in which Henry II founded one of the new episcopates, was his favorite city – "Franconian Rome". In 1020, Pope Benedict VIII arrived here, taking part in the consecration of the St. Stephen’s Temple, the construction of which was just finished. The land for him was donated by the Empress Kunigunda from her morning gift (Morgengabe) – a gift from her husband after the wedding night.

Viewing the temple, you can find examples of just three styles: Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque. The construction of the present Baroque building was started in 1626 and was delayed because of the Thirty Years’ War until 1662. The Gothic tower of the church was preserved from the XIII century. Inside, part of the decor in the altar part is made in the Rococo style.

The Upper Temple

Not far from St. Stephen’s temple on the neighboring Kaulberg hill above the city stands the main parish church of Bamberg – the temple of the Virgin Mary (Kirche Unsere Liebe Frau) or the Upper Pastor’s Temple (Obere Pfarre), completely preserved the Gothic exterior. For the first time in the chronicles, it is mentioned in 1140, but the construction of the current building was in the XIV-XV centuries.

Churches and monasteries of BambergChurch of the Virgin Mary

Particular attention should be paid to the bell tower, located asymmetrically relative to the longitudinal nave. For several centuries until 1926 it was used as a watchtower. For this purpose in 1537 the bell tower was built up by erecting a two-storied lodge at the top.

Monastery of the Carmelites

Bamberg’s next landmark is just a few minutes’ walk away. The Carmelite Monastery of St. Mary and St. Theodore greets visitors with the Baroque façade of the monastery church – one of the most beautiful in Bamberg. This kind of church acquired in 1692-1707. Mention of the first monastery on this site is dated 1030 year. Then there was a church shelter for the poor and sick, founded by the first bishop of Bamberg, Eberhard I. In the next century, he was replaced by a convent. The history of its creation is interesting.

In 1156 the pfatzgraf Hermann von Höchstadt-Stahleck started feud with one of his neighbors, claiming for part of his territory. For this, his nephew, Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa (Friedrich Barbarossa) sentenced his uncle to the punishment that was foreseen in such cases for the nobility.

Churches and monasteries of BambergBypass gallery in the monastery of the Carmelites

The Palatine was to carry out publicly in his arms from one possession to another dog. Usually, such punishment was used for shaming before the death penalty, but sometimes they were replaced by the execution itself, if it could not be carried out for any political reasons. After the dog’s public transport, the palatine repented, left his childless wife and went to the monastery, where he soon died. After that, his widow Gertrud (Gertrud von Höchstadt-Stahleck) sent money from her inheritance to create a convent in Bamberg, which she then herself entered.

During the Peasants’ wars in 1525 the monastery was plundered, and in 1554 it was closed. A few decades later, Carmelite monks from the Regnica valley moved into its walls. A special celebrity was their library. In 1803, their monastery was dissolved, and property was confiscated in favor of the state. The premises of the former monastery were rebuilt and used by the Prussian military as an infirmary and barracks. The monks returned here in 1902.

Of special interest is the bypass gallery – a 14th century Kreuzgang (Kreuzgang) in Romanesque style with Gothic elements. Enjoying the monastic silence and tranquility, we go to the main church of Bamberg – the Imperial Cathedral, and from it – to the monastery on Mount Michaelsberg.

See also:

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