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A Day in Speyer, Germany


Close to Viking Freyja is the heart of Speyer, one of Germany's oldest cities. Passengers walk into the community, following several local guides.

Our guide starts by telling us Speyer’s history.

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She tells us that in 10 BC, the Romans established a military camp on the banks of the Rhine River as we pass Altpörtel, an impressive city gate that was part of the city fortification in the Middle Ages. Speyer was once a major Celtic center that traded hands several times between the Romans and the Huns.

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Next, we head for the city's UNESCO-listed cathedral. The oldest of three remaining Romanesque cathedrals in Germany is the burial place of eight emperors, including some of the most famous Holy Roman Emperors. Construction began in 1030.

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The term Protestant originated here at the Diet of Speyer in 1529 when 14 free cities of Germany and six Lutheran princes protested the Edict of Worms that had banned the writings of Martin Luther and labeled him a heretic and enemy of the state. The word Protestant originates from the word protest.

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After this informative tour, we have free time to explore independently. In addition to Speyer Cathedral, several other churches dominate the Speyer landscape.

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One of the ShUM-cities that formed the cultural center of Jewish life in Europe during the Middle Ages is here. The Jewish courtyard is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Speyer is also the originator of the German pretzel, so naturally, I stopped and bought one from a small kiosk along the main thoroughfare. I stopped in a few locally-owned shops before returning to the cathedral, and entering the impressive church.

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When I return to the ship, I feel as though I have learned much in this picturesque city with its fascinating history. Viking is known for choosing excellent ports for their beauty and history,

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For more information on Viking Cruises, including river, ocean, and expedition itineraries, click here.

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