Beer and Cathedrals

After posting yesterday, I realized I’d left out the beer.  Can’t do that.  Bamberg is famous for its Rauchbier (aka “smoke beer”), “which has been likened by some first-time tasters to drinking ham from a glass.  No, I didn’t taste it; even when I drank beer, I preferred a medium red ale.  They roast fresh barley kernels over an open beechwood flame to make the malt.  They’ve been doing this for centuries, as you can see from the sign below.

Schenkerla brewery

Schenkerla is one of the big breweries.  There are several, all packed in together in the same small district.  The sign below is for Brauerei Heller-Trum, and it wasn’t 4 doors away from Schenkerla:

Brauerei Heller-Trum

Schenkerla did have an interesting sign on their main brewery site, I never heard any explanation of the star of David.  In fact, I didn’t notice it until I looked at the photo.

Schenkerla brewery sign

The breweries are all right down the hill from the Dom.  Here’s the back of the Dom from the foot of the hill, looking up the alley:

Bamberg Dom

Bamberg, being in Franconia (part of Bavaria) is very Catholic.  My Bamberg photo gallery has more photos of carefully painted religious figures on the outside of buildings, but here’s an example:

Religious figures on building

The Bamberg Cathedral was consecrated on May 6, 1012, so 2012 was the cathedral’s 1,000th anniversary.  The cathedral had a year long celebration.  This is the front with its two towers:

Bamberg Dom

The wheel you can see at the bottom I found very interesting.  It’s a replica (I think – the signs were all in German) of a tool the medieval masons used to lift stone, a man powered treadmill:

Medieval replica

The guided tour took us around the Domplatz, the square in front of the Cathedral, which is framed by the New Residence, where the prince-bishops lived, the wall of the bishop’s rose garden (more on that later), and some buildings used as residences for the Dom priests, plus an old inn (now a museum).  The Residence wasn’t very interesting externally but I liked this building:


My notes aren’t clear but I think the priests who served in the Dom lived here.  And remember, five stories, no elevator.  The courtyard of the old inn had a very elaborate gateway.  You can see the banner for the celebration on the right.

Courtyard gateway

After the tour we visited the Dom rose gardens, which are on top of a hill and let you look down into the town below:

From the Dom gardens

The Dom gardens have a little cafe serving drinks and pastries, and we had some, then toured the rose garden.  This is probably heresy, but I’m just not very thrilled by a rose garden, I like roses mixed with other plants.  They did have a nice fountain, though:

Fountain in the Dom gardens

I got a picture of St. Michael’s Abbey from the Dom gardens, but we didn’t get any closer than this:

St. Michael's Abbey

After our snack and garden stroll, we went into the Cathedral by the “Adam portal,” flanked by statues of Adam and Eve on one side, and Heinrich II and Cunigonde on the other.  You can tell who is whom by the clothing.

Bamberg Com, Adam Portal

Inside the Cathedral, of course we looked at the famous Bamberger Reiter, or Bamberg Horseman, plus numerous other statues, several of which are in the photo gallery:

Bamberg Horseman

But we also got our second musical surprise of the trip, after the little fanfare in Miltenberg:  as we walked into the nave, we heard a chorus, singing something that sounded like very early Baroque – Schütz, maybe.

Bamberg Dom chorus

It was a delight, and we listened for a few minutes – and then the second chorus came in, above and behind us!

Bamberg Dom second chorus

You can see they’re in street clothes.  By scraping my extremely rudimentary German (fortunately I knew the word Sänger) against the almost nonexistent English of the nice lady on the information desk, I learned that this was the dress rehearsal of the Dom choral singers – the following day they would perform a concert, a thousand years of music in the cathedral.  Before they closed the cathedral at 6 PM (much too early!), we heard them sing something that sounded like Josquin des Pres, and something that sounded much later Baroque, possibly Vivaldi or Telemann.  I considered it one of the best moments on the trip, to hear that music in the sort of cathedral it was written for.

After they threw us out of the Dom, we walked back down to the Green Market to wait for the bus, as I described yesterday.  Still, we did eventually get back to the boat, and we got dinner, and I’ll close this post with a photo I took during our evening cruise along the Main-Donau Canal:

Along the Main-Donau Kanal

This entry was posted in Personal, Photography and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.