St. Peter's Cathedral

St. Peter’s Cathedral

With a population around 150,000, Regensburg, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen Rivers, is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region. During WWII a nearby Messerschmidt aircraft factory and oil refinery were bombed, but the city was left practically intact. The large medieval center of the city is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On our city tour we passed a construction for a museum which has been delayed in order to complete archeological study as Roman remains have been unearthed. We learned that Oscar Schindler was from Regensburg. Our guide pointed out a small marker Holocaust in front of a home that honored a Jew who was killed during the. The Cathedral of St. Peter is the most prominent church in this city of churches. The spires of this imposing Gothic building, founded in 1275 and completed in 1634, inspire one to consider it the city’s spiritual center. Unlike many other visitors, I honored the church’s request not to photograph inside it. While meditating on the fantastic stained glass windows in three huge panels above the altar and the surrounding walls, we listened to the organist. Was he practicing or playing for visitors? We learned that Pope Francis’ predecessor, Benedict was a faculty member in Regensburg prior to being elected Pope. The Stone Bridge, partially covered with scaffolding for repairs, was built from 1135-1146. It is a miracle of medieval engineering. The knights of the 2nd and 3rd crusades used the bridge to cross the Danube on their way to the Holy Land. At the foot of the Stone Bridge sits a large warehouse which stored salt from the Salzburg mines. Salt, or white gold, was valued in the medieval period as a preservative for ham and bacon and for transforming cabbage into sauerkraut. Nearby is the oldest sausage kitchen in the world. The Wurstkűche has been serving since 1135. The Town Hall contains the room occupied by the Imperial diet from 1663 to 1806. A feature of one entrance was official measurements. Our visit coincided with a national holiday and a huge Catholic conclave, the 99th Catholic Day. At one point in our exploration we followed the sounds of music to find a stage filled with costumed percussionists. Back at the River princess, we enjoyed an afternoon of sailing. We passed a large circular building atop a wooded hill erected by Ludwig I of Bavaria that glorifies the heroes of the 1813 War of Liberation. We missed seeing another of his buildings that we passed before arriving in Regensburg. There are 66 locks between Vienna and Amsterdam. Our cruise manager used PowerPoint slides to explain the engineering feat that connected the Danube and Rhine in 1992. Originally conceived by Charlemagne in 793, this concept was carried out again in the 1850s for small ships and only used for five years before its economic viability was overtaken surpassed by the introduction of railroads. The locks in the Main-Danube Canal must rise some 1,300 feet. There are three that each rise 81 feet.

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