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.
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.
- Frommer's Staff