In Germany, Gothic architecture took root a good deal more slowly
than in England. Until the mid-thirteenth century, the Romanesque
tradition, with its persistent Ottonian reminiscences, remained
dominant, despite the growing acceptance of Early Gothic features. From
on, however, the High Gothic of the Ile-de-France
had a strong impact on the Rhineland. Cologne Cathedral (begun in
represents an ambitious attempt to carry
the full-fledged French system beyond the stage of Amiens. Significantly
enough, however, the building remained a fragment until it was finally
completed in modern times. Nor did it have any successors.
Cologne Cathedral (German:
Kölner Dom) is one of the most well-known architectural
monuments in Germany and has been Cologne's most famous
landmark for centuries. Construction of the gothic church
began in the 13th century and took, with interruptions, more
than 600 years. The two towers are 157m tall, the cathedral
is 144m long and 86m wide. It was built on the site of a 4th
century Roman temple, a square edifice known as the 'oldest
cathedral' and commissioned by Maternus, the first Christian
bishop of Cologne. The present cathedral was built to house
the relics of the Magi, brought to Cologne from Italy by
Archbishop Rainald von Dassel in 1164.
The foundation stone was laid on August 15, 1248, by
Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden. The choir was consecrated
in 1322. After this initial rapid progress, construction
work gradually came to a standstill, and by the year 1560,
only a torso had been built. It was only with 19th century
romantic enthusiasm for the Middle Ages and the commitment
of the Prussian Court that construction work resumed in 1842
with the addition of the towers and other substantial parts
of the cathedral. The completion of Germany's largest
cathedral was celebrated as a national event in 1880, 632
years after construction had began. The celebration was
attended by Emperor Wilhelm I. In the end, the outer
appearance remained faithful to the original medieval plans;
however, the roof was a modern steel construction. At its
completion, the Cologne cathedral was the tallest building
in the world, having taken over from the cathedral of Rouen.
In 1889, it lost the title to Mole Antonelliana, the
cathedral of Turin. For a small fee it is possible to climb
a spiral staircase to a viewing platform about 98 metres
above the ground. The cathedral suffered 14 hits by World
War II bombs; reconstruction was completed in 1956.
Far more characteristic of German Gothic is the
development of the hall church, or Hallenkirche. Such churches,
with aisles and nave of the same height, are familiar to us from
Romanesque architecture (see fig.
For reasons not yet well understood, the type found
particular favor on German soil, where its artistic possibilities were
very fully explored. The large hall choir added between
1372 to the church of St. Sebald in Nuremberg
(fig. 473) is one of many fine examples from central Germany. The space here has a
fluidity and expansiveness that enfold us as if we were standing under a
huge canopy. There is no pressure, no directional command to prescribe
our path. And the unbroken lines of the pillars, formed by bundles of
shafts which gradually diverge as they turn into ribs, seem to echo the
continuous movement that we feel in the space itself.
ST. SEBALD CHURCH
St. Sebaldus Church, Nuremberg.
St. Sebaldus Church (St. Sebald, Sebalduskirche) is a
medieval church in Nuremberg, Germany.
Along with Frauenkirche (Our Lady's Church) and St. Lorenz,
it is one of the most important churches of the city, and
also one of the oldest. It is located at the Albrecht-Dürer-Platz,
in front of the old city hall. It takes its name from
Sebaldus, an 8th century hermit and missionary and patron
saint of Nuremberg. It has been a Lutheran parish church
since the Reformation.
The construction of the building began in 1230s. the church
achieved parish church status in 1255 and was completed by
1273-75. It was originally built as a Romanesque basilica
with two choirs. During the 14th century several important
changes to the construction were made: first the side aisles
were widened and the steeples made higher (1309–1345), then
the late gothic hall chancel was built (1358–1379).
The two towers were added in the 15th century. In the middle
17th century galleries were added and the interior was
remodelled in the Baroque fashion. The church suffered
serious damage during World War II and was subsequently
reconstructed. Some of the old interior did survive,
including the Shrine of St. Sebaldus, works by Veit
Stoss and the stained glass windows.
473. St. Sebaldus Church, Nuremberg.
MARBURG'S HALL CHURCH
St. Elisabeth's Church
A different type of design, also probably of French origin but developed
especially in Germany, is the Hallenkirche, or hall church, in which the
aisles are the same height as the nave. Hall churches, consequently,
have no tribune, triforium, or clerestory. An early German example of
this type is the church of Saint Elizabeth at Marburg, built between
1235 and 1283. It incorporates French-inspired rib vaults with pointed
arches and tall lancet windows. The facade has two spire-capped towers
in the French manner but no tracery arcades or portal sculpture. Because
the aisles provide much of the bracing for the nave vaults, the exterior
of Saint Elizabeth is without the dramatic parade of flying buttresses
that typically circles French Gothic churches. But the German interior,
lighted by double rows of tall windows in the aisle walls, is more
unified and free flowing, less narrow and divided, and more brightly
illuminated than the interiors of French and English Gothic churches.
St. Elisabeth's Church is a religious building in Marburg,
Germany, built by the Order of the Teutonic Knights in honour of
Elisabeth of Hungary. Her tomb made the church an important pilgrimage
destination in the late Middle Ages.
The church is one of the earliest purely Gothic churches in
German-speaking areas, and is held to be a model for the architecture of
Cologne Cathedral. It is built from sandstone in a cruciform layout. The
nave and its flanking aisles have a vaulted ceiling more than 20 m (66
ft) high. The triple quire consists of the Elisabeth quire, the High
quire and the Landgrave quire. The crossing is separated from the nave
by a stone rood screen. In earlier times, the front part of the church
had been reserved for the Knights of the Order. The Elisabeth Church has
two towers with an approximate height of 80 m (263 ft). The northern one
is crowned by a star, the southern one by a knight. The Elisabeth Church
served as an inspiration for St. Paul's Church of Strasbourg.
The Gothic shrine of Saint Elisabeth is
the most important treasure of the church, but other pieces of sacral
art are also exhibited.
Construction started in 1235, the year Elisabeth was canonized. The
church was consecrated in 1283. However, the towers were not finished
until 1340. The church was property of the Order of the Teutonic
Knights; some buildings of the Order still exist near the church, among
them the Deutschhausgut, which now houses the mineral collection and the
department of geography of the Philipps University of Marburg. Until the
16th century, the Landgraves of Hesse were buried in the church. In the
context of the Reformation, Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse had the remains
of Saint Elisabeth removed, in order to oust the pilgrims from the
Protestant city of Marburg. Today, relics of Elisabeth can be found in
the Elisabeth convent in Vienna, in the City Museum in Stockholm and in
Košice. Most of the monks converted to Protestantism during the 16th
century, and the church was used for Protestant services. For a short
time at the beginning of the 19th century, both Catholic mass and
Protestant communion were celebrated in separate parts of the church.
After World War II, former German
president Paul von Hindenburg and his wife were buried in the Elisabeth
church, after the evacuation of their remains from the Tannenberg
memorial in former East Prussia.
St. Elisabeth's Church
Ulm Minster (German: Ulmer Münster, literally: minster) is a
Lutheran church located in Ulm, Germany. Although sometimes
referred to as Ulm Cathedral because of its great size, the
church is not a cathedral as it has never been the seat of a
Ulm Minster is a famous
example of Gothic ecclesiastical architecture. Like Cologne
Cathedral (Kölner Dom), also begun in the Gothic era, Ulm
Minster was not completed until the 19th century. It is the
tallest church in the world, and the tallest structure built
before the 20th century, with a steeple measuring 160.9
metres (528 ft) and containing 768 steps. From the top level
at 143 m (469 ft) there is a panoramic view of Ulm in
Baden-Württemberg and Neu-Ulm in Bavaria and, in clear
weather, a vista of the Alps from Säntis to the Zugspitze.
The final stairwell to the top (known as the third Gallery)
is a tall, spiraling staircase that has barely enough room
for one person.
In the 14th century, the parish church of Ulm was located
outside the walled city. The burghers of Ulm decided to
erect a new church within the perimeters of the city and to
finance the costs of the erection. In 1377 the foundation
stone was laid. The planned church was to have three naves
of equal height, a main spire on the west and two steeples
above the choir. In 1392 Ulrich Ensingen (associated with
Strasbourg Cathedral) was appointed master builder. It was
his plan to make the western church tower the tallest spire,
which it remains in the present day. The church, consisting
of the longitudinal naves and the choir, covered by a
temporary roof, was consecrated in 1405. However, structural
damage, caused by the height of the naves and the weight of
the heavy vaulting, necessitated a reconstruction of the
lateral naves which were supported by a row of additional
column in their centre.
In a referendum in 1530/31,
the citizens of Ulm converted to Protestantism during the
Reformation. Ulm Minster became a Lutheran Church. Although
as large as many cathedrals, Ulm is not a cathedral, the
responsible bishop of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in
Württemberg - member of the Evangelical Church in Germany -
resides in Stuttgart.
In 1543 construction work was halted at a time when the
steeple had reached a height of some 100 metres (330 ft).
The halt in the building process was caused by a variety of
factors which were political and religious (the Reformation,
the Thirty Years' War, the War of the Spanish Succession) as
well as economic (the discovery of the Americas in 1492 and
of the sea route to India in 1497, leading to a shift in
trade routes and commodities). One result was economic
stagnation and a steady decline, preventing major public
In 1817 work resumed and
the three steeples of the church were completed. Finally, on
31 May 1890 the building was completed.
View toward the choir showing the ancient glass in the apse and the
wooden filigree canopy of the nave pulpit.
The aisles, with a network of tracery in the vault