Officially known as the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Stephen, the Speyer Cathedral is the most prominent landmark in the historic town of Speyer and a des-ignated UNESCO World Heritage Site. It dates back to 1030 when its foundation stone was laid by Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor and it has long served as the resting place of the Salian dynasty.
The Speyer Cathedral is designed in a striking Romanesque style in the form of a Latin cross, with a huge triple-nave vaulted basilica. This design is believed to have inspired many other influential Romanesque churches of the 11th and 12th centuries while its fully preserved crypt stands as the largest Romanesque col-umned hall in Europe. It was here that the Salian, Hohenstaufen and Habsburg rulers (and their wives) were buried, reflecting the power of imperial rule during the medieval period.
On the southern side of the cathedral is the double chapel of Saint Emmeram and Saint Catherine, with the two connected through an opening in the center, while the chapel of Saint Afra is situated on the northern side of the cathedral. On the western side stands a large bowl that is known as the Domnapf, which once marked the official boundary between the Episcopal and municipal territories and was filled with wine by each new bishop.
Also of note is the Heidentürmchen (Heath Tower) to the east of the cathedral that once formed part of the medieval town fortifications and the Antikenhalle (Hall of Antiques) that was built in a Neo-Classical style and now serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives during the two world wars.