Date or Approximate date of work: Begun 1030.
The Speyer Cathedral is the largest Cathedral in Europe. It is built on the bank of the Rhine River. It was founded by Konrad II in 1030 and inaugurated in 1061. Konrad II wanted to build the Cathedral to honor a city of his choice with the largest church of its time. This cathedral is one of the most important Romanesque monuments from the time of the Holy Roman Empire. The architecture is inspired by a combination of Eastern and Western influences. The cathedral is laid out in the form of a Latin Cross; it has four towers and two domes. A dwarf gallery runs around the nave and transept just below the roof. The transept is a masterpiece of unity and balance. In line with prevailing practice at the time, there were neither building plans nor detailed drawings. Every morning the architect would simply draw in the sand the next section to be built. To be on the safe side, all the dimensions were tripled; and this is how the cathedral ended up with eight-meter thick walls, making it virtually indestructible and ensuring its long life. .
It is the first structure to be built with a gallery, which goes around the whole building. Finely carved capitals show a wide variety of motifs on the east side of the apse. The stones of the cathedral have very striking colors: yellowish and several kinds of reds. The total length of the building is 134 meters and the highest point is 72 meters. The crypt is the finest and largest in Germany, it has remained in its original condition to present day. Being the official Church of the Salic Emperors, eight German Emperors and Kings, four Queens and a number of Bishops are buried there. In my research I learned that Konrad II had to be buried elsewhere the first two years after he died because the crypt was not yet finished at the time of his death. .
The Speyer Cathedral is the most stunning outcome of early Salian architecture and served as a model for the further development of Romanesque church building.