This is a continuation of my description of the German town of Speyer. See here for Part 1.
On our bed each evening on the river cruise was the Daily Cruiser. I'm going to quote from that for the history of Speyer.
"Speyer is a lovely town of 50,000 inhabitants in the German state called Rhineland-Palatinate. It is one of Germany's oldest towns, founded by the Romans. However it was the year 1024 that marked a decisive event in the history of the town. In Oppenheim near Mainz, Konrad II, a Salian emperor from the Speyer district was elected King of Germany, drawing Speyer into the center of imperial politics and making it the spiritual center of the Salian kingdom.
Nothing more could express this importance than the construction of the mighty cathedral. The laying of the foundation stone was the decisive impetus for the further development of the town. The cathedral was consecrated in 1061 although only completed in 1111. It was the largest church of its time, and its its monumentality and significance, symbolized imperial power and Christianity. It became the burial place of eight German emperors and kings. With the Abbey of Cluny in ruins, the Speyer Cathedral remains the largest Romanesque church to this day."
Outside in the plaza in front of the cathedral is this mammoth bowl. It's a sandstone wine bowl, traditionally filled with local wine for the citizens to toast new bishops. Our guide said that bishops are serving longer these days so the town finds other occasions to serve wine from this bowl.
By the way the gentleman in the hat at the bowl was from our ship. He opted for the gentle walkers tour and he had a personalized tour since he was the only one. A nice accommodation that Ama Waterways provides.
Opposite the cathedral is the Altportel (Old Gate).
Looking in another direction from the plaza was a museum with an exhibit on Richard the Lionheart. He had a connection to Speyer and my memory is fuzzy whether it was his mother or grandmother.
Town colors pop out as you walk the streets. There were many people out because it was a holiday but no stores open except the ice cream and coffee shops.
When I caught up to the guide again after being barred from entering the cathedral for the service they were just entering this Lutheran Church which was undergoing restoration.
The guide left us to explore on our own for 45 minutes and then to meet back at the wine bowl.
I choose to walk the streets. There were many other church spires but several were closed up tight and not even churches anymore.
The guide said Germans support their churches be designating their denomination (Protestant or Catholic) on their tax returns and then are tax 7% (may not be accurate). Many Germans have given up church attendance as a result.
I walked to the Altportel and found it opened.
I saw others up at the top and decided to climb it too.
Here's the view.
Back on the ground and almost time to meet the guide again.
One more post to come on Speyer that the guide shared with us.