City Tour for Guests in Wheelchairs

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Wheelchair user at the Technik Museum
Wheelchair user at the Technik Museum

Guests with wheelchairs had best park in the handicapped parking spaces at the Cathedral Parking Lot (on the left side of the Cathedral). In order to tour the inner city, we recommend the upper part of the lot. Those who wish to take a quick look at the old city, had best park their cars in the lower section of the Cathedral Parking Lot. Both parking lots are designated “P3”.

The Historical Museum of the Palatinate, the Technology Museum and the SeaLife Center are wheelchair-accessible and offer disabled parking spaces near their respective entrances; in addition, they have disabled-accessible toilets available. On the grounds of the Technology Museum is the spectacular IMAX Dome. The theater is easy to reach. However, because of the design of the theater, wheelchairs can only be positioned all the way in front.

Speyer’s beautiful old-town section is paved with cobblestones, just like many other old cities. As a result, some roads are uneven and bumpy, others were newly repaved on the occasion of the city’s anniversary in 1990. There are no really large bumps but some care should be exercised around washed-out cobbles so that the front wheels of your wheelchair do not get hung up. Repair work is being done continually as the need arises. Street crossings have been leveled in the inner city and in most of the rest of the city and can be easily negotiated with a wheelchair. In addition, there are hardly any differences in elevation throughout the city so that it is possible to move about the city without any great expenditure of effort.

To the right of the Cathedral, a small ramp leads into the Cathedral garden. There is a side door through which one can gain entry to the Cathedral at ground level. This door is usually open during scheduled church services and during visiting hours. But areas along the sides of the Cathedral are only accessible by negotiating steps. The crypt can only be reached by descending many steep steps (no elevator).

From the Cathedral, you can directly access the pedestrian zone and Maximilian Street all the way to the Old Gate. Once past the town hall, the statue of St. James, the Pilgrim  reminds us that Speyer was a waystation on the Palatine portion of the Way of St. James. Looking across the small square to the right of the statue, one looks directly onto Trinity Church. The main entrance of the church has no steps. The inside of Trinity Church can be viewed on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:30 am until 4:00 pm and Sundays from 2:00 pm until 5:00 pm.

The entrance to Tourist Information on the left side also leads to the Culture Court on the Flachsgasse. The Art Association and the Urban Gallery present changing exhibitions in these rooms. This area is disabled-friendly.

The nearby Jewish Courtyard is especially interesting from a culture-historical standpoint. Wheelchair-equipped visitors can access the upper portion of the ruin of a  synagogue from the Middle Ages and the Women’s Prayer Room as well as the SchPIRA Museum. The ritual bath can only be reached by negotiating a steep staircase with well worn steps.

After passing the “Old Mint” on Maximilian Street, art lovers will want to indulge in a detour through the Corn Market to the Hans Purrmann House. One can get to the inner court with a wheelchair with no difficulty and with some energetic support, one can get past the one step that guards the entrance to the house and thereby gain access to exhibits on the entire ground floor.

As for the Old Gate and the nearby St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, visitors in wheelchairs will not be able to gain access. But the Lutheran Memorial Church, erected to commemorate the “Protestation Imperial Diet” of 1529, has a wheelchair-accessible entrance.

The restaurants and taverns of the Cathedral City do not as yet have toilets for the disabled. But do not underestimate Speyer’s readiness to help and simply ask. Public toilets for the disabled are all equipped with the the EC-compliant WC-key-system; you can also borrow such a key with a small deposit from Tourist Information.