Beneath the quartet of spires, Bamberg’s cathedral is packed with artistic treasures, most famously the slender equestrian statue of the Bamberger Reiter (Bamberg Horseman), whose true identity remains a mystery. It overlooks the tomb of cathedral founders, Emperor Heinrich II and his wife Kunigunde, splendidly carved by Tilmann Riemenschneider. The marble tomb of Clemens II in the west choir is the only papal burial site north of the Alps. Nearby, the Virgin Mary altar by Veit Stoss also warrants closer inspection.
Founded by Heinrich II in 1004, the cathedral's current appearance dates to the early 13th century and is the outcome of a Romanesque-Gothic duel between church architects after the original and its immediate successor burnt down in the 12th century. The pillars have the original light hues of Franconian sandstone thanks to Ludwig I, who eradicated all postmedieval decoration in the early 19th century.