Freising’s Cathedral Hill
A short walk takes us from the bustling historic quarter up to Cathedral Hill. ‘Mons doctus’ – or the ‘Hill of Scholars’ – is a haven of peace, tranquillity and contemplation. It was home to Bishop Otto of Freising, perhaps the greatest philosopher of history of the medieval age. His monument now gazes down on the visitors to the cathedral square.
Around 800 years later, another Freising priest and scholar became the talk of the world: Joseph Ratzinger, who lived, taught and worked in the episcopal city for many years. His return there as Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 is unforgotten; to the delight of the crowds, he set aside the sermon he had prepared to give in Freising Cathedral – announcing, “I’m not going to read it out; you can see it in print if you like” – and fervently cried, “This is a moment of immense joy and gratitude for me!”
A tour of Cathedral Hill reveals many fascinating spots. Opposite the cathedral is the former residence of the prince-bishops; many of the other buildings were service buildings or still house official church functions. The prince-bishopric of Freising was Old Bavaria’s centre of spiritual and intellectual life for centuries, and Cathedral Hill is still a focus of sacred and cultural life for the city today.
Marvel at its glorious architectural masterpieces – St Mary’s Cathedral with its crypt and Beasts’ Pillar, and the Diocesan Museum with the world’s largest collection of religious art after the Vatican. Explore the prince-bishops’ residence with its colonnaded courtyard, the first work of Renaissance architecture in all of Bavaria and today home to Kardinal-Döpfner-Haus, an educational and conference centre. And don’t miss the stunning views from the Baroque Belvedere, extending as far as Munich and the Alps in good weather.
Take the time to soak up the profoundly expressive images by world-famous artists; to be captivated by these tranquil places; and to embrace contemplation.
St Mary’s Cathedral
Two towers soar above the city
The cathedral, Freising’s prominent landmark, commemorates the city’s centuries as the spiritual centre ... more
Freising Diocesan Museum
One of the world’s great ecclesiastical museums
The collection of Freising Diocesan Museum spans almost 20,000 exhibits of Christian art, primarily from Southern Germany and the Alps. We regret that the museum is currently closed for renovations; however, the magnificent special exhibitions are on display elsewhere during this time. For more information visit https://dimu-freising.de (currently available in German only).