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View from the Altpörtel tower over Maximilianstraße, towards the cathedral's west facade
View from the Altpörtel tower over Maximilianstraße, towards the cathedral's west facade
Flag of Speyer
Coat of arms of Speyer
Location of Speyer
Speyer is located in Germany
Speyer is located in Rhineland-Palatinate
Coordinates: 49°19?10?N 8°25?52?E / 49.31944°N 8.43111°E / 49.31944; 8.43111Coordinates: 49°19?10?N 8°25?52?E / 49.31944°N 8.43111°E / 49.31944; 8.43111
DistrictUrban district
Subdivisions4 Stadtteile
 o Lord mayor (2018–26) Stefanie Seiler[1] (SPD)
 o Total42.58 km2 (16.44 sq mi)
92 m (302 ft)
 o Total50,741
 o Density1,200/km2 (3,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
Dialling codes06232
Vehicle registrationSP

Speyer (German pronunciation: ['?pa], older spelling Speier, known as Spire in French and formerly as Spires in English) is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany with approximately 50,000 inhabitants. Located on the left bank of the river Rhine, Speyer lies 25 km (16 miles) south of Ludwigshafen and Mannheim, and 21 km (13 miles) south-west of Heidelberg. Founded by the Romans, it is one of Germany's oldest cities. Speyer Cathedral, a number of other churches, and the Altpörtel (old gate) dominate the Speyer landscape. In the cathedral, beneath the high altar, are the tombs of eight Holy Roman Emperors and German kings.

The city is famous for the 1529 Protestation at Speyer.


Free Imperial City of Speyer
Reichsstadt Speyer
StatusFree Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire
Common languagesPalatine German
Historical eraMiddle Ages
o Founded
ca 10 BC
o Gained Reichsfreiheit
o Speyer Diet confirms Edict of Worms
19 April 1529
o Protestation at Speyer
20 April 1529
o Annexed to Bavaria
1816 1792
10 August 1946
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Main street in Speyer with the Speyer Cathedral in the background

The first known names were Noviomagus and Civitas Nemetum, after the Teutonic tribe, Nemetes, settled in the area. The name Spira is first recorded in the 7th century, taken from villa Spira, a Frankish settlement situated outside of Civitas Nemetum.


  • In 10 BC, the first Roman military camp is established (situated between the town hall and the episcopal palace).
  • In AD 150, the town appears as Noviomagus on the world map of the Greek geographer Ptolemy.
  • In 346, a bishop for the town is mentioned for the first time.
  • 4th century, Civitas Nemetum appears on the Peutinger Map.
  • 5th century, Civitas Nemetum is destroyed.
  • 7th century, the town is re-established, and named Spira after a nearby Frankish settlement.
  • In 1030, emperor Conrad II starts the construction of Speyer Cathedral, today one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Also in the 11th century, the first city wall is built.
  • In 1076, emperor Henry IV embarks from Speyer, his favourite town, for Canossa.
  • In 1084, establishment of the first Jewish community in Speyer.
  • In 1096, as Count Emicho's Crusader army rages across the Rhineland slaughtering Jewish communities, Speyer's Bishop John, with the local leader Yekutiel ben Moses, manages to secure the community's members inside the episcopal palace and later leads them to even stronger fortifications outside the town. It was ruled that anyone harming a Jew would have his hands chopped off.[3]
  • In 1294, the bishop loses most of his previous rights, and from now on Speyer is a Free Imperial Town of the Holy Roman Empire.
  • In 1349, the Jewish community of Speyer is wiped out.
  • Between 1527 and 1689, Speyer is the seat of the Imperial Chamber Court.[4]
  • In 1526, at the Diet of Speyer (1526) interim toleration of Lutheran teaching and worship is decreed.
  • In 1529, at the Diet of Speyer (1529) the Lutheran states of the empire protest against the anti-Reformation resolutions (19 April 1529 Protestation at Speyer, hence the term Protestantism).
  • In 1635, Marshal of France Urbain de Maillé-Brézé, together with Jacques Nompar de Caumont, duc de La Force, conquers Heidelberg and Speyer at the head of the Army of Germany.
  • In 1689, the town is heavily damaged by French troops.
  • Between 1792 and 1814, Speyer is under French jurisdiction after the Battle of Speyer.
  • In 1816, Speyer becomes the seat of administration of the Palatinate and of the government of the Rhine District of Bavaria (later called the Bavarian Palatinate), and remains so until the end of World War II.
  • Between 1883 and 1904, the Memorial Church is built in remembrance of the Protestation of 1529.
  • In 1947, the State Academy of Administrative Science is founded (later renamed German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer[5]).
  • In 1990, Speyer celebrates its 2000th anniversary.

Main sights

View of the river Rhine from the top of the Speyer Cathedral
View of Speyer from its cathedral


Speyer lies on the Schifferstadt-Wörth railway and offers hourly connections to Mannheim and Karlsruhe.


Since 1923 the mayor was a Lord Mayor.[6]

  • Philipp Lichtenberger (1855-1918) (1904-1911)
  • Ernst Hertrich (1911-1914) (first full-time mayor)
  • Otto Moericke (1880-1965) (1917-1919)
  • Karl Leiling (1919-1943)
  • Rudolf Trampler (1898-1974) (1943-1945)
  • Karl Leiling (1945-1946)
  • Hans Hettinger (1946)
  • Paul Schaefer (1946-1949)
  • Paulus Skopp (1905-1999) (1949-1969)
  • Christian Roßkopf (born 1930) (1969-1995)
  • Werner Schineller (born 1948) (1995-2010)
  • Hansjörg Eger (born 1964) (2011-2018)
  • Stefanie Seiler (born 1983) (since 2018)

Twin towns - sister cities

Speyer is twinned with:[7]

Notable natives

Born before 1900

Carl Jakob Adolf Christian Gerhardt
Wilhelm Meyer around 1895
Anselm Feuerbach Self-portrait 1873
Hermann Detzner, 1921

Born after 1900

See also


  1. ^ Wahl der Oberbürgermeister der kreisfreien Städte, Landeswahlleiter Rheinland-Pfalz, accessed 30 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Bevölkerungsstand 2020, Kreise, Gemeinden, Verbandsgemeinden". Statistisches Landesamt Rheinland-Pfalz (in German). 2021.
  3. ^ Simon Schama, The History of the Jews, Vintage Books 2014 p.298
  4. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Spires" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 694.
  5. ^ German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer
  6. ^ Der Kaiserdom zu Speyer - Startseite
  7. ^ "Städtepartnerschaften". speyer.de (in German). Speyer. Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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