The Bamberg Cathedral is one of the main attractions of Bamberg. Emperor Heinrich II commissioned the first construction of the Bamberg Cathedral in 1003 – the so-called “Heinrichsdom” with two Romanesque towers. However, several fires severely damaged it, resulting in a new construction starting in 1215 which, alongside the Romanesque forms, also had Gothic features. Several richly decorated portals form the entrance to the cathedral, where the tombs of the imperial couple Heinrich II and Kunigunde can be found.
Old Town Hall
The old town hall of Bamberg was built in 1386 in the middle of the river Regnitz and is accessible by two bridges. According to legend, the bishop of Bamberg did not grant the citizens any land for the construction of a town hall. This is why the citizens of Bamberg drove piles in the River for their town hall and created an artificial island in the middle of the Regnitz. Today, the Old Town Hall accommodates the prestigious Rococo Hall and the Ludwig Collection.
The former fishermen’s district in Bamberg’s Island City is endearingly known as Little Venice. The area is made up of a decorated and restored row of old residential buildings from the 19th century. Small medieval half-timbered houses with balconies and tiny gardens, in which there are moorings for boats, line up along the bank of the river Regnitz and form a romantic ensemble.
The Old Court
The Old Court is one of the most impressive buildings in the city of Bamberg. Emperor Heinrich II made the Old Court the seat of the first Bamberg bishop in 1007. The “Beautiful Gateway” by sculptor Pankras Wagner catches the eye: It depicts a relief of the Mother of God, St. Peter, St. George, St. Kunigunde and St. Heinrich as well as personifications of the rivers Main and Regnitz. The gateway leads into the romantic inner court which is lined with half-timbered buildings.
The four-winged complex of the New Residence was built in two stages. First, the backwards two-winged section, which flanks the street named Obere Karolinenstraße, was built from 1602 on in the Renaissance style under Prince Bishop von Gebsattel. Then, under Prince Bishop Lothar von Schönborn, the Baroque wings facing the Cathedral were built between 1697 and 1703 as a residence for the Prince Bishop by Leonhard Dientzenhofer. Today, the magnificent building complex houses the national library as well as the national gallery Bamberg, which impresses with historical rooms and valuable pictures. The Rose Garden in the inner court of the New Residence commands a breathtaking view of Bamberg.
St. Michael’s Monastry
Above the cathedral square (Domplatz), at the top of Michaelsberg, is the Kloster St Michael, a former Benedictine monastery and now a retirement home. The monastery church is well-known for its baroque art and the meticulous depictions of nearly 600 medicinal plants and flowers on the vaulted ceiling. The manicured garden terraces behind the church – former monastical vineyards – provide splendid city panoramas. Unfortunately, the inner of the church cannot be visited at the moment as comprehensive restoration work is ongoing which will probably take some years.