Kaisersaal and observation deck

Since the end of October 2012, there have been two more good reasons to visit spectacular Speyer Cathedral (UNESCO World Cultural Heritage): the redesigned Kaisersaal, showing an exhibition of nine frescoes by Johann Baptist Schraudolph, and the observation deck in the south-western tower of the Romanesque Cathedral, giving visitors a unique panoramic view of the region. The Kaisersaal and the observation deck are closed in the winter half-year; they will be reopened on 1 April 2014.


Work in the Kaisersaal and on the southern tower, including the new observation deck, began in 2010.

As part of the restoration of the Cathedral, which commenced in 1957, the frescoes were removed from the Cathedral in order to emphasise the Cathedral's Romanesque design more strongly again. Only the 24-scene Virgin Mary cycle, which can still be seen today in the arches of the nave, remained. In the Kaisersaal,nine of the frescoes, whose artistic value and religious meaningfulness are undisputed among experts, can now be viewed by the public again. These are four frescoes from the Bernard cycle ("Arrival of Saint Bernard in Speyer","Saint Bernard in Prayer in Speyer Cathedral", “Presentation of the Flag with the Cross to Konrad III” and “Saint Bernard Healing the Sick and Departing”) and four frescoes from the Stephen cycle (“Saint Stephen's Ordination to the Diaconate”,”Saint Stephen before the High Council”,”Pope Saint Stephen dies a Martyr's Death” and “Pope Saint Stephen in Prayer”). The highlight of the exhibition is the "Crowning of Maria", which was mounted in the apse of the choir room until 1957. A separate dome construction was made in the Kaisersaal for this work of art, which replicates the vault in the apse. The frescoes were painstakingly restored by the restorer Vitus Wurmdobler in the 1980s.

 

Key information

The observation deck below the spire covers an area of around 20 square metres. It is open on all sides and holds around 50 people. For safety reasons, visitors are lead up the steeple in groups, accompanied by a tower guide. The sightseeing tour lasts around half and hour. It begins every full hour and every half hour at the exit of Kaisersaal.

Opening times: The Kaisersaal and the observation deck are closed in the winter half-year; they will be reopened on 1 April 2014.

Admission charges: Admission for adults: € 6,- Reduced admission for children and young people up to 18 years of age and for people with disabilities: € 3,- Admission for families with more than one child: € 15,- For more information visit: www.bistum-speyer.de  (CathedralKaisersaal - observation deck

 

Impressions

A glass door to the gallery lets visitors see into the interior of the dome. The bell hole in the floor is covered with glass to give visitors a view of the Cathedral porch below. The bell hole in the dome of the Kaisersaal was designed with a gold plate, as a symbol of God the Father in a continuation of the "Crowning of Maria". The Kaisersaal stretches across the entire width of the west wing and can accommodate up to 200 people. Its total area covers just more than 500 square metres and it is 25 metres high.

On the western side of the Cathedral, a total of 304 steps lead from the entrance to the southern tower up to the newly built observation deck at a height of around 60 metres. From the deck, a unique panoramic view of the city of Speyer, the Anterior Palatinate and the Baden neighbourhood awaits visitors. On days when visibility is good, it is possible to see to a distance of more than 50 kilometres. 

More about UNESCO world heritage ...

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