Onion Domes

Day five of our river cruise finds us at Passau, Germany where the Inn and Ilz Rivers join the Danube. Passau has a lovely skyline featuring the onion domes and clock tower of St. Stephens Cathedral. Churches on this site date to the year 730 and the current 1688 baroque church replaced a 15th-century Gothic structure damaged by fire. I was fascinated by these copper onion domes that seemed to dominate city and village skylines from Poland all the way here to Germany. There is a lot of information to be found about the beginnings and spread of these onion domes and I spent a lot of time reading about them. Data ranged from scholarly papers, all the way to a simple declaration by an art historian that they handled snow loads better than other designs. But nothing about why they were popular was definitive. I read that the three St. Stephen’s domes represent the Holy Trinity, but reading on a bit, even that is questionable. I think I will just invite you to enjoy the image and maybe your interest will also be piqued.

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