Monday, May 04, 2009

A Piece of Heaven on Earth: Bamberg

Over the weekend I visited Bamberg, the ancient city of St. Henry, St. Cunegond and St. Otto, see and capital of the former prince-bishopric of the same name, still ecclesiastically the see of a metropolitan archbishop, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While the title of this post may seem like hyperbole, in my eyes the overwhelming combination of an accumulation of a millennium of Catholic culture, manifested in a staggering abundance of sacred (and profane, there is always a salutary interconnection, never a sharp separation) art and architecture, but also still very much alive, and of the beauty and bounty of the land deserve nothing less.

Over the coming weeks I intend to put up a series of posts about some of the most interesting things from an NLM perspective (although I may throw in the one or other picture not strictly relating to something liturgical for general interest). I have not yet had an opportunity to go through the many pictures I took, but to give you an idea, post may inlcude:

- the famous Cathedral, a late Romanesque building built by St. Otto and containing the tomb of St. Henry and St. Cunegond, regarded as the masterpiece of Tilman Riemenschneider

- the original vestments from the tomb of Pope Clement II (died 1047), who is also buried in the Cathedral

- Michaelsberg Abbey with its church, consecrated in 1121 and containing a splendid baroque interior, the famed herbarium on the ceiling, and the tomb of St. Otto (this is perhaps - it's very hard to tell - my favourite church in Bamberg

- stunning vestments, vessels and reliquaries from the diocesan museum

- the celebrated churches of Vierzehnheiligen and Banz, chief works of Balthasar Neumann lying opposite each other in the upper valley of the River Main.

As a teaser, here is a picture of the Assumption of Our Lady on the corner of a house in Bamberg:

Now, before the series begins, a request: this series will inevitably include a great amount of baroque art and architecture. We all know that there is a number of readers who have a dislike to this artistic form of expression, and are of course free to do so (incomprehensible as that may be to me personally). I would, however, kindly ask them not to seize this series as another opportunity to voice this aversion.

To go directly to future parts of the series from this post, click on the label "Bamberg" below.

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