Speyer Cathedral

Speyer Cathedral

Date ca. 1030-61; vaulted ca. 1080-1106

Movement Romanesque

Located at Speyer, Germany

 

This cathedral was built to house the remains of Holy Roman Emperors. Its original design includes a timber-roof nave with small clerestory windows; however, even more light was deemed necessary in later years. Architects employed the groin vault to accommodate larger windows. Though it had been used since Roman times, the groin vault had never spanned such an immense space before. Colonnettes were added to alternating piers for additional support, that, together with the transverse arches of the nave, create bays that feel compartmentalized; when seen from a distance, this creates rhythm and harmony.