BAMBERG, a town and archiepiscopal see of Germany, in the kingdom of Bavaria. Pop. (1885) 31,521; (1905) 45,308. It lies on an open plain on the river Regnitz, 2 m. above its junction with the Main, and 39 m. north of Nuremberg by railway. The upper town is built on seven hills, each crowned by a church, while the lower, still partially surrounded by walls and ditches, is divided by the river and Ludwigskanal into three districts. The cathedral is a noble late Romanesque building with four imposing towers. It was founded in 1004 by the emperor Henry II., finished in 1012, afterwards partially burnt, and rebuilt in the 13th century. Of its many works of art may be mentioned the magnificent marble tomb of the founder and his wife, the empress Cunigunde, carved by Tilman Riemenschneider between 1499 and 1513, and an equestrian statue of the emperor Conrad III. Other noteworthy churches are the Jakobskirche, an 11th-century Romanesque basilica; the St Martinskirche; the Marienkirche or Obere Pfarrkirche (1320-1387), which has now been restored to its original pure Gothic style. The Michaelskirche, 12th-century Romanesque (restored), on the Michaelsberg, was formerly the church of a Benedictine monastery secularized in 1803, which now contains the Bürgerspital, or alms-house, and the museum and municipal art collections. Of the bridges connecting the sections of the lower town the most interesting is the Obere Brücke, completed in 1455. Halfway across this, on an artificial island, is the Rathaus (rebuilt 1744-1756). The royal lyceum, formerly a Jesuit college, contains notable collections and the royal library of over 300,000 volumes. The picturesque Old Palace (Alte Residenz) was built in 1591 on the site of an old residence of the counts of Babenberg. The New Palace (1698-1704) was formerly occupied by the prince-bishops, and from 1864 to 1867 by the deposed King Otto of Greece. Noteworthy among the monuments of the town is the Maximilian fountain (1880), with statues of Maximilian I. of Bavaria, the emperor Henry II. and his wife, Conrad III. and St Otto, bishop of Bamberg. At a short distance from the town is the Altenburg (1266 ft.), a castle occupied from 1251 onwards by the bishops of Bamberg. It was destroyed in 1553 by Albert, margrave of Brandenburg, but has been partly restored. The schools include the lyceum for philosophy and Catholic theology (a survival of the university suppressed in 1803), a seminary, two gymnasia, a Realschule, and several technical schools, including one for porcelain-painting. The industries of the town include cotton spinning and weaving, silk spinning, the manufacture of tobacco, ropes, metal-ware, furniture, etc. The market gardens of the neighbourhood are famous, and there is a considerable shipping trade by the river and the Ludwigskanal.
Bamberg, first mentioned in 902, grew up by the castle (Babenberch) which gave its name to the Babenberg family (q.v.). On their extinction it passed to the Saxon house, and in 1007 the emperor Henry II. founded the see. From the middle of the 13th century onward the bishops were princes of the Empire. The see was secularized in 1802 and in 1803 assigned to Bavaria.
A brief history of the bishopric is given in the Catholic Encyclopaedia (London and New York, 1909), with bibliography. For general and special works on the town see Ulysse Chevalier, Topobibliographie (Montbéliard, 1894-1899), s.v.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)