Romanesque Rhineland - Cathedrals of Speyer, Worms and Mainz

Prices from £2,195


23 Sep 2019 - 28 Sep 2019
Duration: 5 nights
Ref: 19RHIN
With: Dr Ulrike Ziegler


Prices from £2,195
Single Supplement: from £300
Deposit: £200

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Three fine Romanesque cathedrals – Worms, Speyer and Mainz – are an architectural focus of this tour through the Middle Rhine. The Salian, or Frankish, dynasty ruled the Holy Roman Empire from 1027 to 1125 and made this area their centre. Four successive kings became emperors and established a power base on the Rhine that reflected their influence. During this period, they expanded their cathedrals to become some of the most spectacular in Europe. Mighty Speyer cathedral became the largest church in the Western Christian world and burial place of the Salian dynasty.

All three cathedrals are good examples of Middle Rhenish Romanseque architecture, featuring stone-vaulted basilicas with impressive silhouettes rich in spires, cylindrical turrets, and arcaded galleries. The remains of the abbey at Lorsch and the imperial palace at Ingelheim are testimony to the Carolingian vision of a Northern European empire of two centuries earlier. The Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt offers a significant collection of mediaeval ivories and gold-work, complementing the architectural gems.


Dr Ulrike Ziegler studied art history and archaeology at the University of Regensburg and King’s College Aberdeen specialising in medieval art and architecture. Her PhD focused on art exhibitions and cultural politics of post-war Germany. She has taught at university and is now lecturing for various cultural institutions. She has organised and led many study trips in Germany and Austria. In addition to tour lecturing, Ulrike is developing Art Pursuit Abroad’s German programme.

DAY 1:

We fly from London Heathrow to Frankfurt airport. Our coach transfers you to our five-star hotel in Mainz. In the afternoon we have an introductory walking tour to acquaint us with Mainz’s history from its Roman foundations to Mark Chagall’s stained-glass windows.

DAY 2:

Today we spend the day in Mainz starting with an extended visit to the cathedral and its richly endowed treasury. From the early Middle Ages, the archbishop of Mainz became second in command after the emperor, as imperial chancellor and one of the seven prince-electors. The cathedral, begun after 975 and added to until the 13th century, is richly furnished with episcopal tombs and rare 10th-century bronze doors. The treasury houses sculpture by the so called Naumburger Meister, named after his famous works in Naumburg cathedral in present-day Saxony Anhalt. In the afternoon we will visit an absolute must-see of Mainz – although not Romanesque – the Gutenberg museum with its fine collection of manuscripts including two Gutenberg Bibles and spectacular Renaissance books.

DAY 3:

Our coach takes us to Speyer, where we spend the day. Of Roman origin, Speyer became an Episcopal see early in the Middle Ages. The main sections of the imposing cathedral survive as erected by the Salian emperors. The crypt, consecrated in 1041, houses the tombs of German emperors and kings from the 11th to the 13th centuries. Funerary and liturgical objects from the cathedral are on display in the treasury. Speyer’s rich Jewish cultural and architectural heritage is worth a visit. Together with Mainz and Worms, the city accommodated one of the earliest Jewish communities in the Holy Roman Empire and we will explore the remains of the synagogue and mikveh, the ritual purification bath, both the oldest surviving in central Europe.

DAY 4:

A day spent in the Rheingau region, scenic gateway to the nature reserve of the Middle Rhine valley and home to world-famous vineyards. In the morning, we will visit the remains of the Carolingian palace of Ingelheim and the associated museum. Legend has it that it was Charlemagne himself, looking out from his Ingelheim palace, who decreed the planting of vines along the hillsides. St Bernard of Clairvaux established the Cistercian abbey of Eberbach in 1136 and the abbey church remains unscathed by time and alterations. Over lunch in the abbey, we taste some of the famous Rheingau Rieslings from its extensive vineyards. In the afternoon, take a private boat along a scenic stretch of the Upper Middle Rhine, now a UNESCO world heritage site, to see the historic towns, vineyards and castles that inspired artists including J.W. Turner.

DAY 5:

We have a full day coach excursion to Worms and Lorsch. A short trip takes us to one of Germany’s mediaeval architectural highlights: the gatehouse of the former abbey of Lorsch – small but perfectly formed – an outstanding and exceptionally well-preserved example of Carolingian architecture. Worms is a city steeped in history: key moments of the Nibelungen saga are set there; in 1122, the Concordat of Worms ended the investiture controversy between pope and emperor; and in 1521, Luther was summoned to the Diet of Worms to recant his writings. Our walk around the city will focus on the 12th-century cathedral, with foundations dating to 1018.

DAY 6:

After some free time in the morning we take the coach to nearby Darmstadt for a visit of the Hessisches Landesmuseum with its exquisite Romanesque ivories and goldwork. In the afternoon we travel to Frankfurt airport for our flight to London Heathrow.


Twin/double share: £2195
Double room for sole use supplement: £300
‘Rhine View’ double / twin supplement: £75
‘Rhine View’ double for sole use supplement: £450
‘No flights’ price: £1,995 per person
Deposit: £200


  • Return flights with Lufthansa from London Heathrow to Frankfurt
  • Private coach transfers in Germany
  • Five nights’ bed and breakfast in the 5* Hyatt Regency, Mainz
  • Three dinners and one lunch
  • Guided visits to monuments and museums listed in the programme
  • Services of the Lecturer and Tour Manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes & gratuities for coach drivers & waiters


The five-star Hyatt Regency, is located along the Rhine River near Mainz Old Town. There are two restaurants, a terrace and a bar. The bedrooms included high-speed internet access, television, telephone, individual climate control, safe, coffee and tea making facilities and a mini bar.