The today’s Freising Cathedral was not built until the 9th century, the Marienkirche was in its place from the early 8th century. A devastating fire in 1159 reduced the cathedral and the city to rubble and ash.
At the entrance are unusual figures, the Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa and on the right his wife Beatrix. It was the emperor himself who held his hand protectively over Freising when Heinrich der Löwe used a trick to gain possession of the diocese (Fürstbistum) lucrative customs revenue. With the extra moneys, Heinrich promoted the construction of the Cathedral.
For the diocese millennium celebrations in 1724, the church was re-lined with stucco and frescoes – and none other than the most famous representatives of old Bavarian church art at the time, the Asam brothers were hired for this. They gave the nave its glamorous baroque festive dress.
All stylistic epochs since the High Middle Ages have contributed to the larger successor building. The most famous artists were engaged at the time: Peter Paul Rubens created the high altar painting “The apocalyptic woman”, a violent storm of color and movement, which has now been replaced by a copy (the original is in the “Alte Pinakothek” in Munich).
According to research results, the organ was constructed by the organ builder Daniel Hayl in 1623.
The artistic design of the organ and its figural decoration was completed by Philipp Dirr. Only the organ case, completed in 1624, has survived.
The organ can be closed with two illustrated wing doors, a clock with a Roman dial can be seen in the middle at the top. A concert of angels is depicted on the inside and the Annunciation of the Lord on the outside. The current organ was rebuilt in 1978-1980 by the Winfried Albiez company in Lindau.
The highlight of the Crypt design and a special feature, unique in Central Europe, is the mysterious column of beast that was erected around 1160 by an unknown stonemason. It shows, among other things, knights wrestling with dragons – a symbol of the fight between good and evil.
The spiritual center is the Crypt beneath of the Mariendom with it’s spatial work of art from the 12th century. The bones of the founder of the diocese, Saint Korbinian rests in a valuable shrine that stands on a mighty stone sarcophagus.
The Korbinian Shrine
On September 8th between 724 and 730 the missionary bishop Saint Korbinian died. After the burial, his remains were transferred to Mais Castle according to his will. Around the year 769, under pressure from the faithful who worshiped Korbinian, the relics were brought back to Freising and transferred to the crypt of Freising Cathedral. Since the end of the 19th century the relics of St. Corbinian in the then newly created neo-Romanesque Korbinian shrine.
The town of Freising is a great place to stay overnight if you take a flight from the Munich (MUC) Airport back to your destination in conclusion of your trip to Germany. I eventually did this and it was worthwhile.