Würzburg’s prince-bishops worshipped and were laid to rest in this 11th-century Romanesque church, where a large menorah near the entrance pays tribute to Christianity’s roots in Judaism. What you see here today is the result of a massive restoration effort that raised the church from ruin in the aftermath of World War II. Many of the prince-bishops’ funerary monuments line the elegantly simple nave; others reside for eternity in the Schönborn Chapel, designed by Balthasar Neumann, architect of the Residenz.

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The finest monuments are by Würzburg sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider. One of the best things about visiting churches here in Würzburg and elsewhere along the Romantic Road is seeing Riemenschneider’s work. His great genius lay in his ability to capture human empathy in wood, stone, or whatever medium he worked in. On the left side of the nave, for example, he commemorated prince bishop Rudolf von Scherenberg, portraying him in advanced age. The wily old bishop was voted into power at the age of 65, largely because the highly political body thought he would soon expire and leave the post open again; he outwitted and outlived many of his opponents, expiring at the age of 95. The scissors in his coat of arms are a visual cue to his name, which translates as “Scissor Man.” Next to him is prince bishop Lorenz von Bibra, looking robust and prideful. The beaver in his coat of arms is a clue to his real name, von Bieber, which von Bibra found to be too common. (May we assume his followers were known as von Beliebers?)

The Dom is dedicated to St. Kilian, an Irish missionary who came to Würzburg in 686 and soon converted ruling Duke Gozbert and many of his subjects to Christianity. Kilian, however, ran afoul of the duke’s wife, Geilana, when he tried to convince the duke that the couple’s marriage was invalid, since Geilana was the widow of his brother. The irate duchess had Kilian and his two companions, Colman and Totnam, beheaded. Their skulls rest in a crypt beneath the altar and are paraded through the streets on St. Kilian’s Day, July 9. Their other bones are in the baroque Neumünster across the courtyard, a compromise that has allowed both churches to benefit from the largess of pilgrims over the years.