Together with the cathedrals in Mainz and Speyer, St. Peter’s Cathedral in Worms is one of the most magnificent examples of Romanesque church architecture. The origins of the cathedral in Worms go back to the early days of Christianity towards the end of the Roman period. There are records from Franconian times of the first Bishop of Worms (Berthulf, 614), whose cathedral was considerably smaller than the present one.
Worms Cathedral, situated at the highest point in the city centre, is the most important Romanesque building in Worms and is closely linked with the name of Bishop Burchard and the golden age in the city’s history during the 12th and 13th centuries.
Important events connected with the cathedral include the crowning of a Pope (Leo IX) in 1048, the Concordat of Worms in 1122, which put an end to the investiture dispute between the Emperor and the Pope, and the Diet of Worms (1521), during which Martin Luther was summoned to appear before the Emperor Charles V, an event that led to the split in the western church.
Today the cathedral is a Catholic parish church, and in 1925 it was raised to the status of a “basilica minor” by the Pope. This honorary title is bestowed by the Pope in recognition of a church’s importance for the surrounding area.
The cathedral was built between 1130 and 1181 at the same time as the demolition of an Early Romanesque basilica dating from the first quarter of the 11th century.
The origins of the cathedral in Worms go back to the early days of Christianity towards the end of the Roman period.
The cathedral houses the tombs of the ancestors and family of the Salian dynasty, whose possessions included a castle in Worms up to the 11th century. In the medieval period, the cathedral and its immediate surroundings saw numerous visits by emperors and other important events, some of which had serious political consequences. The existence in Worms, Mainz and Speyer of three imperial cathedrals in the Romanesque style, all in the northern part of the Upper Rhine Valley, is a unique situation worldwide, and Worms Cathedral has been the city’s towering landmark for more than 1000 years.
A new cathedral was built in the Early Romanesque style under Bishop Burchard (1000 - 1025), the most important of all the bishops of Worms. This building had the same dimensions as the present cathedral (the spires on the east tower reach to a height of 65 metres and those on the west tower to 58 metres), and parts of it are still to be seen. A process of rebuilding on a large scale and in the High and Late Romanesque style began in the 12th century.
The western parts were renewed between 1125/1130 and 1144, then the nave between 1160 and 1170. By 1181, work on the west choir had progressed far enough for the cathedral to be consecrated. During a later building phase around 1300, the Romanesque Chapel of St. Nicholas was replaced by one in the Gothic style, and at the same time the south portal was redesigned to include decorative figures as an illustrated Bible. The stone sculptures representing scenes from the life of Jesus that used to be in the Late Gothic cathedral cloister (end of the 15th century) are now set up in the northern part of the nave.
A Baroque high altar, the work of Balthasar Neumann, was installed after the devastation of the city in 1689.
Click into (To the panorama pictures) 1000 years of church history! More than 75 different panorama viewpoints offer you a full exploration of Worms Cathedral.
Did you know that Worms Cathedral is still the scene of major events today?!
The imposing building is the undisputed main actor of the annual Nibelungen Festival and offers a breathtaking backdrop!
Extraordinary musical events regularly take place in the unique atmosphere of Worms Cathedral.
Information on current events
April - October: 9 am - 5:45 pm
November - March: 10 am - 4:45 pm
Closed because of church services:
Saturday from 4 pm
& Sunday until 12:45 pm
Further restrictions are possible:
This offer is for individual guests and groups up to 6 people.
Guided tour of the Imperial Cathedral of St. Peter, inside and outside
Duration: 1 hour
From May to October
Monday to Saturday, 2 pm
Meeting point: south entrance to the cathedral
For more information please contact us