500 years since the Reformation
Speyer is a UNESCO World Heritage town thanks to its cathedral, the largest surviving Romanesque church in Europe. But it is also regarded as the birthplace of the Protestant faith because of the Protestation at Speyer of 1529.
In April of that year, the noble representatives of the princes who were supporters of Luther met at the Diet of Speyer and protested against the ban on Luther's teachings. This protest lead to the division of the Christian faith into Catholic and Protestant.
The neo-Gothic Memorial Church in Speyer with its Luther statue commemorates this momentous event. After the burning of Speyer in 1689, the baroque Trinity Church was rebuilt as a Lutheran church in the early 18th century. The wooden interior features have been preserved to this day.
In addition to the UNESCO World Heritage Cathedral and sites associated with Luther, Speyer also has a rich Jewish heritage. You can see evidence of this from the ruins of the 12th century synagogue and the Jewish bath (mikveh) which dates from the same period, making it the oldest Jewish ritual bath in central Europe. Archaeological finds, everyday objects and architectural features from both buildings are on display at the SchPIRA Museum.
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