Paderborn Cathedral is about 700 years old and it is the fifth cathedral at the same site. In 777, Charlemagne built a church here for the occasion of the ‘Reichstag’ the empirical meeting. It was made of wood and did not have any side aisles. It was a missionary church, as Charlemagne brought Christianity to local Westphalia.
The cathedral as we know it today was built in the 13th Century; the existing buildings were included in the complex, affording various styles from the Romanesque to the Gothic. The cathedral has a vestibule measuring almost 100m in length, three aisles, two traverse buildings and one west spire rising 92 metres into the sky. The vestibule crypt is situated beneath the crossing of the centre aisle and the traverse and with a length of 32m and a width of12m it is one of the largest crypts in Germany. It accommodates the relics of St. Liborius, the patron Saint of Paderborn.
The Paradise Gate (prior to 1240), the Pietá (around 1380), the Gothic high altar (late 15th Century), the double Madonna (around 1480), the monumental tomb of the Prince Bishop, Dietrich IV. von Fürstenberg († 1618) and a pulpit in the style of the Regency (1736) are just some of the interesting sights inside the cathedral. The interior of the cathedral is surprisingly light; this is mainly due to its fitted long house windows, which were made locally in Paderborn.
The cloister of the cathedral houses the famous 'Three Hares Window', which dates back to the 16th Century and depicts three jumping hares in a circle; this is a true treasure as the picture only depicts three ears, yet each of the hares appears to have a complete pair of ears. The three hares are one of the landmarks of Paderborn. A well known saying of Paderborn is: “Hares and ears there are three, and still each hare has two”.