Here are some touristy photos of Regensburg, in eastern Bavaria (Ostbayern), that I took on 9 August 1999.

The guidebooks tell me that Regensburg (Ratisbon, Ratisbonne) was a free imperial city from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, and was something of a crossroads for traders from all of Europe. I don't know how much of it is original; Encyclopædia Britannica 97 says it "was destroyed by the French in 1809", which sounds bad -- but: "Despite repeated bombings in World War II, Regensburg sustained little damage and most of its medieval buildings survived."


No matter where you look in Regensburg, you'll see things of interest. This detail is on a house that a Regensburger probably thinks of as newish and unremarkable.

[Regensburg, David and Goliath] [Regensburg, David and Goliath]

David and Goliath, improbably close to each other.

[Regensburg, Steinerne Brücke] [Regensburg, going out over Steinerne Brücke] [from Steinerne Brücke, Regensburg] [what's on the other side of the Danube from Regensburg]

When this bridge over the Danube, the Steinerne Brücke, was built (in the twelfth century), "it was the only safe and fortified crossing along the entire length of the Danube and had tremendous value for the city as a major international trading centre" (Rough Guide). It's a pleasant stroll over the bridge -- whose foundations are original -- and on the other side we found a quiet and unpretentious shopping street for the locals, where we could buy bottled drinks and fruit to fuel our tourist gawping.


The Dom (cathedral) was built from 1250 or 1260 (the books disagree) to 1525 -- aside from the spires, which were only added in the nineteenth century.


Here's the Dom, as viewed from the bridge. Yes, there was a photo like this before, but for this one gives you the illusion of a slightly closer look. Why the lack of variety? Well, the church is difficult to photograph from the middle distance: it's rather tightly boxed in by houses. So this is the conventional tourist view.

[Regensburg, Dom] [Regensburg, Dom] [Regensburg, Dom] [Regensburg, Dom] [Regensburg, Dom] [Regensburg, Dom] [Regensburg, Dom]

And here you see details of the outside, with an odd concentration on gargoyles.

St. Jakob

St. Jakob, started by the Irish and thus called Schottenkirche (Scottish church), has plenty of romanesque carving, in particular on a splendid north portal -- but this north portal is very grimy and anyway when I saw it was partially under wraps for a DM200,000 facelift.

[Regensburg, St. Jakob, north portal] [Regensburg, St. Jakob, north portal] [Regensburg, St. Jakob, north portal]

Some "details" (obscured by grime, protective netting, poor autofocussing, and incompetent photography) from the bits of the north portal that were visible.

[Regensburg, St. Jakob] [Regensburg, St. Jakob] [Regensburg, St. Jakob] [Regensburg, St. Jakob]

Capitals of four of the columns.

[Regensburg, St. Jakob] [Regensburg, St. Jakob]

Some capitals of the sanctuary rail.

[Regensburg, St. Jakob]

Friar Rydan with door bolt and key, inside the north portal.

On the north portal of St. Jakob, Regensburg:

The actual portal is fitted into a showpiece wall covered with reliefs. . . . [U]nderneath the three arch blind arcades to the left of the portal is the enthroned Madonna and Child, and on the right another ruling figure is enthroned, considered to be the antagonist to the Mother of God, and which in medieval opinion was the Antichrist. Both of these figures are accompanied by symbolic representations of Good and Evil, some of which accord with the animal allegories of the Physiologer. . . . One of the figures on the right [of the upper zone] has been identified as Luxuria. This identification arises from the snakes on her breasts, and as a result the other figures are considered to be personifications of the Vices; the figures opposite, on the Madonna's side, are thought to be the Virtues. Above the upper archivolt a relief row with thirteen figures is let into the wall, and the central one is easily recognized as Christ. . . . He is accompanied to the left and right by the Apostles, and the row of figures is bordered on either side by larger reliefs containing depictions of Mary and John the Baptist. . . .

Uwe Geese, "Romanesque Sculpture", in Romanesque: Architecture · Sculpture · Painting, ed. Rolf Toman (Cologne: Könemann, 1997), 316.

Look in newish books on romanesque architecture, etc., and you may see dingy photographs of this. A much older book might have photographs predating some pollution and weathering. But maybe the description above will inspire somebody to take good photos once the current restoration work is complete.

Back to St. Jakob

Any comments? Corrections? Write to me (Peter Evans), or tell the whole world.

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