When visiting the cultural city of Bremen, one of your must-sees is the Bremen Cathedral, also known as St. Petri Dom Bremen, dedicated to St. Peter, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus. Stroll down the Market Square and take your time to admire this medieval building filled with history, art, and faith.
Thousand years of history
Located in the vibrant city center of Bremen, St. Peter's Cathedral is over 1200-years old. The first version was built in the year 789 out of timber material, which didn't last long and was burned during one of the attacks of the Saxons. Later it transitioned into a sandstone Romanesque style church, which had to be refurbished in the 13th-century to illustrate the new Gothic architecture movement. During World War II, the cathedral was massively destructed and, in the late 70s, it was finally restored to its 1901 Gothic structure – the one you will see today.
What to see
Discover the four bells of the cathedral, three in the north tower and one in the south – these are remaining of the eight bells that towers used to have in the Middle Ages. The oldest bell is the Maria Gloriosa from 1443, made by bell maker Ghert Klinghe. Find the oldest room of the Cathedral in the western crypt, dating back to 1066. Inside, you will see a bronze baptismal font with four riders sitting across lions. This font symbolizes the beginning of life through the baptism celebration. Explore also the museum of the Cathedral, opened in 1987, showcasing photos that depict the history of the Cathedral. In the upper floor find graves from medieval bishops, discovered in the 70s during archeological excavations and garments from bishops between the 11th and 15th-century. Elsewhere, find medieval wall paintings, stone sculptures, and an altar of silver. One of the highlights is Man of Sorrows, the canvas by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
The secret of the mummies
In 1698, the Cathedral got an arp Schnitger organ. During the installation, the constructers discovered by coincidence a number of mummies in the east crypt. Some of the stories tell how the corpses were mummified naturally. Visit Bleikeller, known also as the lead cellar, to find out more about the mummies and why Goethe's House in Weimar contains a mummified child's hand from Bremen. The entrance to the cellar is by the Bibelgarten.
Take a tour
The Cathedral offers a variety of tours to learn in detail the history of every part that composes the building. Some focus on the cathedral, others specifically on the art found in it, others include the tour through the lead cellar. You can tour around on your own, but if you are interested in hearing the real stories you should take one of the tours. The stories will be worth your time!
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