Speyer (also spelled Speier and formerly known as Spires in English) is a small town in Rhineland-Palatinate area, Germany, with approximately 50,000 inhabitants. Located next to the river Rhine, Speyer is 25 km south of Ludwigshafen and Mannheim. Founded by the Romans, it is one of Germany′s oldest cities. The first known names were Noviomagus and Civitas Nemetum, after the Teutonic tribe, Nemetes, settled in the area. Around the year 500 the name Spira first appeared in written documents. Spire, Spira, and Espira are still names used for Speyer in the French, Italian, and Spanish languages. The city′s name may be the origin of the Ashkenazi Jewish name, Shapiro, and its variants.
Speyer is dominated by the Speyer St. Maria and St. Stephan Cathedral, a number of churches and the Altpörtel (old gate). In the cathedral, beneath the high altar, are the tombs of eight Holy Roman emperors and German kings. The history of Speyer begins with the establishment of a Roman camp in 10 BCE, making it one of Germany′s oldest cities. Its name evolved from Spira, first mentioned in 614. As of 1294 a Free Imperial City, the town became renowned for its Romanesque cathedral, its vibrant Jewish community, its seat of the Imperial Chamber Court, for 50 diets that took place within its walls, most notably 1526 and 1529, and last but not least, for the Protestation at Speyer. For several centuries from the Middle Ages into the early modern period, Speyer was one of the main centres of gravity of the Holy Roman Empire.
Currently Speyer is very popular with tourist from all over the globe; they come to visit Speyer main sights such as the Speyer Cathedral (a UNESCO Heritage sight), Altportel (the Speyer Old town gate), Speyer Gedachtniskirche (Memorial Church), Jewish Courtyard (Remnants of medieval Synagogue and intact Mikve and the Historical Museum of the Palatinate.
Speyer was always an important religious centre, so a lot of pilgrims passed by on their pilgrimage through Germany or Europe. It was most natural that also Jakob pilgrims have been here.
As an homage to the countless pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, the city of Speyer has donated this big bronze statue of a Jakob Pilgrim (by Martin Meyer, early 20th century) which is on Maximilianstrasse, just some 200 m west of Cathedral Plaza. Also popular are boat trips on the Rhine River and the Fish Market.
This was my first trip to Speyer and one of the reasons to visit this little historic town was the location of the huge Technik Museum, with its vast collection of aircraft, classic cars, fire engines, barrel organs, train engines, boats, agricultural machines and items of everyday life.
This museum was opened in 1991 as a sister museum of the Sinsheim Auto and Technik Museum and is run by a registered alliance called "Auto and Technik Museum Sinsheim e.V." As of 2004, it has more than 2,000 exhibits and an exhibition area of more than 150,000 m² (indoors and outdoors)
The entry fee includes access to the main collection and the "Wilhelmsbau" which shows countless of small items like radios, sewing machines ect. ect. Here, many items can be operated with a coin. The IMAX cinema requires a separate ticket, but if you buy a ticket for both (ticket museum and IMAX), you can get a discount. This museum is good for a day out with kids, but a disappointment to someone seriously interested in classic aircraft and aircraft photography. Allot of exhibits are to close and cluttered for photography.
In the spring of 2002, Lufthansa donated a retired Boeing 747-200 aircraft, which is now accessible to visitors. It′s spectacularly displayed of a massive 5 story high metal construction. Once you are on the top level the views are amazing and even the Speyer Dom can be seen. In April 2008, a Soviet/Russian Buran spacecraft, OK-GLI, was transported to the Technik-museum and is now another walk-in exhibit. The giant Russian Antonov An-22 arrived by air at the nearby airport on the 29th December 1999 and towed to the museum. The ex Lufthansa Vickers Viscount was donated by Frankfurt airport and arrived in 2012. As a Douglas DC-3 fan I was looking forward to see the museum ex Air Inter DC-3 on display….but as with many other aircraft displayed on poles, it′s very difficult to get a good photograph of it. I was also disappointed that I could not visit the DC-3 inside cabin and cockpit.
For more information about this huge museum check the website:
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