Here are some touristy photos of Freising, in Bavaria, that I took on 7 August 1999.

We'd flown in to Munich late at night, stayed in a central, anonymous and dismal hotel packed with Chinese tour groups, picked up the car in the center of town the next day, and driven it here. Freising is closer to the airport than is the center of Munich; we should have booked a hotel at Freising beforehand, picked up the car at the airport, and wasted less time and money.

We were only in Freising for a very short time. We parked the car, walked straight to the church, and then walked straight back to the car and drove off again. Stereotypical tourists!

Why were we in such a hurry? I can't remember now, but it must have seemed important at the time. Certainly we weren't bored by the little that we saw of Freising. I now see (in the Cadogan guide) that it has "the largest diocesan museum in Germany, displaying Christian religious art over nine centuries" and "the world's oldest brewery" (Weihenstephan), with tours and of course tasting.

I'll have to go back to this place.

Freising's cathedral is a very odd concoction. It's romanesque (with a notable animal column in the crypt), but whitewashed outside and very lavishly baroqued up within. Most of it was locked for most of the time we were there, though we were provided with a kind of belvedere. This is one of a large number of paintings (by Cosmas Damian Asam) that cover the interior.

[Freising, Dom, interior] [Freising cathedral, memorial tablet] [Freising, out-of-focus corbel]

Together with the crypt (not photographed here) the entrance area was spared the baroque treatment and contains various goodies. Here's a memorial tablet (I think) and an appallingly out-of-focus corbel.

The courtyard contained a large number of Niki de Saint Phalle-ic colorful thingummies. Large but leaky containers for maturing kimchi, perhaps.

[kimchi at Freising] [Freising, Dom]

[Freising Dombibliothek exhibition catalogue, 'Schoepfungsbild und Weltbild'] The Dombibliothek (cathedral library) is not one of the most remarkable in the area. Perhaps that's one reason why it's particularly enjoyable. I like old libraries, but I don't like being herded through like the dumb tourist I certainly am -- as has happened to me at the Bodleian (its touristy bit) and at Coimbra. Here, you're free to wander around, and the lady at the salesdesk was happy rather than irritated to be asked questions. This year's exhibition was of Schöpfungsbild und Weltbild, books showing pictures of Creation and of the world. Another good thing is its light and airy decoration (by François Cuvilliés, says the Rough Guide).

The good folk of Freising are still interested in the world, or at least the television thereof.

[Freising satellite TV dishes]

[Freising, center] [Freising, center]

On the animal column: One medium for romanesque sculpture was a column covered with animals, with or without humans, and either intertwined or in battle. They're most common in France, but there's also one at Kilpeck in England.

[The] only example in Germany is to be found in the crypt of Freising cathedral . . . [and] depicts a dramatic battle between two winged dragons and knights; two of these have already been swallowed and the remainder are under threat by further snake-like dragons rising from below. . . .

Uwe Geese, "Romanesque Sculpture", in Romanesque: Architecture · Sculpture · Painting, ed. Rolf Toman (Cologne: Könemann, 1997), 338-9.

Peter O. Walter has kindly provided a photo of the column.

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First created -- in home-devised cookie-cutter style (batch files and lean, mean software) -- on 10 January 1999. Last fiddled with: 15 December 2001. My thanks to Peter O. Walter.

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