A 70-step open staircase connects Erfurt Cathedral Square with the impressive church ensemble on the Domberg. There the cathedral St. Marien and the church St. Severi rise imposingly above the cathedral square in the heart of Erfurt.
Cathedral St. Marien
In 724 the first sacral building was ordered by Rome and represented the main church of the diocese of Erfurt founded in 742 by Bishop Bonifatius. With its High Gothic choir, Romanesque tower area and late Gothic foyer, St. Mary's Cathedral is the successor to this first church.
The Gothic choir windows in the interior, the extensive choir stalls from the 14th century and numerous Romanesque sculptures are particularly worth seeing.
A special highlight in Erfurt Cathedral is the Gloriosa, a masterpiece of bell foundry art, which is located in the central tower.
The largest free-swinging bell of the Middle Ages
With a height of 2 m and a diameter of 5.57 m, the bell with the sonorous name Gloriosa (= the Roman Empire) is one of the most important creations of the European art of casting. The people of Erfurt rumoured that the physical person had his fingers in the pie. Because the first casting attempts ended in burnt, burst and soundless bells. A bell founder lost his life. Thus the German bell founders were all no longer willing to venture into a new casting.
The Dutch bell founder Gerhard van Wou from Kampen was finally won over to the project. As a master of his trade, he even managed to determine the sound of the Gloriosa during the casting process.
It took four futile casting attempts by the Erfurt bell founders before van Wou succeeded in completing the Gloriosa in July 1497: The bell, weighing 11,450 kilograms, sounded its deep "E" for the first time. Nowadays it rings mainly on high church holidays.
Glass painting in the cathedral
Between 1380 and 1420, an extensive cycle of stained-glass paintings was created, which was supplemented by the remains of other medieval and early modern stained-glass paintings, a few colored glazings from the 19th century and a few windows with stained-glass paintings by Charles Crodel from the 1960s to form an impressive work of art.
Parish church St. Severi
The St. Mary's Cathedral is an impressive counterpart to the St. Mary's Church in St. Severus, the origin of which may even have been before the cathedral was first erected.
Before the construction of today's church, the church of a nuns' order was located on the same site; later, in the 12th century, the construction of an important canon community served as a collegiate church.
Today the church is used by the Severi parish as a place of worship. Particularly worth seeing is the Severis sarcophagus from 1365 in the interior, whose side walls depict the life of the saint. A stone Madonna (1345) and a 15 m high baptismal font (1467) are also worth a visit.
After 724 with the building of the first sacral building the foundation stone for the today's cathedral St. Marien was laid, the church building changed over centuries up to the today's cathedral. Between 1154 and 1252 a new building was erected to replace the supposedly collapsed church.
During the construction phase a three-nave basilica was built, which together with remains of the first church building (parts of the north tower and walls of the choir) grew into a new church. From the 13th century onwards, the church was steadily extended.
In 1340 the impressive triangle portal was completed, which was decorated with rich plastic decoration. Among other things, it shows a group of apostles. From 1349 the existing High Choir was supported by supporting pillars and round arches (so-called cavates), which extended the plateau of the Domberg.
Smaller and larger building measures changed the cathedral and its interior until 1700. In 1853/54 the cathedral was extensively restored.
How to get there
The cathedral is located in the historic old town of Erfurt.
By public transport:
From Erfurt main station you can walk directly to the Domplatz via Williy-Brandt-Platz, Anger and Fischmarkt. Alternatively, you can also use the tram lines 3, 4 and 6, which stop directly at Domplatz.
By car, you can take the A71, B4 and B7 to Erfurt and follow the city's parking guidance system to the central multi-storey car parks, for example directly on Domplatz or in Anger1. Alternatively, you can park your car on a Park-and-Ride-parking lot, for example at the trade fair and the egapark, and use the trams to get to the Domplatz.