Speyer Cathedral’s dwarf gallery is one of the most outstanding features of this Romanesque structure. For the first time in the history of architecture, the entirety of a building was encircled by an accessible arcade, running underneath the edge of the roof. Starting with their inclusion in the cathedrals of Trier and Speyer, the dwarf gallery became a widely-imitated stylistic element of Romanesque architecture throughout Central Europe.
The cathedral chapter has reached the decision to allow, under special circumstances, visiting groups to access this part of the cathedral. The aim of this offer is to raise awareness among those who cherish the cathedral for the immense challenges that present themselves in maintaining this structure. During the hour-long tour, available on request and intended for groups of up to five individuals, subjects relating to the history of the building and its upkeep will take centre stage. The design of the building will be placed within a historical and ecclesiastical context. The number of tours around the dwarf gallery will be limited in order not to infringe upon the dignity of the building or damage its structure. Visitors will be accompanied by a specially trained cathedral guide. The security of the visitor is ensured by a system of supporting ropes, installed in 2013 as part of an overhaul of the cathedral’s fixtures.
A tour of the dwarf gallery places significant demands on both the visiting participants as well as the tour guide. The terms and conditions of the guided tour must be accepted in advance and this consent must be confirmed in writing. Fear of heights as well as physical impairments are impediments to participation in this tour. Revenue raised by this tour will benefit the maintenance of the building; the fee charged is € 400 per group, with a maximum number of five participants. A tour is generally possible from April until October. Contact: domfuehrungen[at]bistum-speyer.de