Optional Excursion to
Bayreuth Wagner Festival Tour Program
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OPTIONAL EXCURSION TO Bamberg
We will visit the Cathedral, the Old City and Little Venice. If time permits, we will visit the Vierzehnheiligen (Church of the Fourteen Saints).
The history of Bamberg dates back to the the 7th Century when Slavs and Franks lived peacefully together in a large fortress, Babenberger, after whom the town was named.
Quite remarkably, Bamberg managed to escape the ravages the Second World War without serious damage, however extensive damage was done to some of its older building during the Thirty Years War. The troops reached Bamberg in 1631 and often passed through the city. It was looted at every pass by friend and enemy, Imperial forces, the French and the Swedes. The population was reduced by 80% from war, starvation and epidemics.
The devastated land recovered slowly and experienced an economic boom under the patronage of the Schonborn Bishops who reformed the administration and economy. An explosion of building began - churches, monasteries, fountains, bridges and squares and palaces. At the centre of all the reconstruction was the New Bishop's Residence.
The grand Cathedral of St Peter and St George stands on the site of the cathedral built by Henry II, which was consecrated in the presence of all bishops of the empire in 1012. It was the spiritual and worldly centre of the city and incorporates numerous styles - Renaissance, early Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Rococo. Dom Platz next to the cathedral is considered to be one of the most beautiful squares in Germany .
The Cathedral's interior is decorated with a number of beautiful statues of famous figures and portals. The most mysterious of its art works is the famous Bamberger Reiter (1240) whose identity remains a mystery despite the research of many scholars. It also houses the tomb of Henry II on which Tilman Reimenschneider carved from Jura marble, scenes of the Emperor's life and the legends which have surrounded him.
The Spectacular New Residence of the Bishops demonstrates why the councillors of Bamberg issued an edict forbidding the Bishop from building any further palaces. When the Pope banned such decrees, this new residence was built. The Residence now houses the State Library. The wings of the residence house a cafe and rose garden both of which are a must in Bamberg .
The Upper Parish Church was the city's largest building project in the 14th Century and houses a magnificent Tintoretto painting.
A stroll across the city bridge, will take us to the Old City Hall , which was built on a man made island in the middle of the stream because the Bishop would not give the townsfolk land for its construction. The north of the Hall looks down upon" Little Italy " a picturesque line of fisherman's cottages with their wooden balconies, small garden and the flat boats moored at their gates.
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