Along the Rhine river, south of Frankfurt and about 18 km from Heidelberg is the city of Speyer. I wanted to see its historic cathedral for myself, one of the biggest, and for some the most important church in the land. When I heard the title, “the imperial Cathedral”, I didn’t quiet understood why it is referred to with much pride. A local explained to me why, “In the church’s crypt lies eight holy Roman emperors, kings and religious leaders”. To this day some German leaders are brought to Speyer’s cathedral as a symbolic practice before burial. The church’s foundation follows that of a cross. According to the towns official website the church was “built by the emperors…as their last resting place and as a symbol of their power”.
There’s another attraction in town called the Speyer Technik Museum. If you like, or you’re as mad about planes like I am, this one is a must visit. I was only made aware of the Speyer Technik Museum when I saw it there. Its quite an impressive museum. They have an impressive collection of planes from Russian MIG’s to a Boeing jumbo. The museum have an imax and a sizable parking space (and a hotel nearby) for what they call caravan camping. Another attraction for aviation enthusiast is the PFW, a local company that once supplied fighter aircrafts for Germany, now it builds structural parts, equipments and components for airbus.
One of the landmarks of Speyer is the old gate which was part of the town’s ancient fortification. This structure was constructed in the 1200′s. It’s amazing to see something built in the same century when the Mongol’s overran most of the known world and when William Wallace was shouting freedom for his Scotland. But the town is older than its tower, imagine a community founded around 100 BC. Possession of Speyer changed from one ruler to another – even became French at some point. In 1529, Martin Luther went against one of the imperial diets that was held in here. This act was the beginnings of the Protestant movement.
I saw some buildings built in baroque architecture (or neo-baroque as they call it). This of course is very familiar because such architecture exist back home. How I wish I have know more of this country’s history. I have very limited knowledge of German history but is somehow connected to it. Or at least in stories that was told to me. It is said by some family, although not verified, that our great, great grandfather was a German who migrated to Spain. Its a nice story really but my low tolerance and allergy with beers tells me the story is probably a legend.
There’s this statue called Jakobsweg in front of the Lutheran Trinity Church (Dreifaltigkeitskirche) that marks the town’s place in St. James journey that ended in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This became a popular pilgrim for many European Catholics. I thought that it was such pilgrims that brought people to different kingdoms then. Who knows, maybe my ancestor made such a pilgrim and found life better in Iberia.