Top Historic Sights in Dortmund, Germany

Explore the historic highlights of Dortmund

Marienkirche

Marienkirche (St. Mary"s Church) was built opposite of the Reinoldikirche, for the town"s council and jurisdiction. It shows elements of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and houses notable Medieval art. The church was built on the Hellweg, a main Medieval road connecting the free imperial town Dortmund with others. It was erected between 1170 and 1200 in Romanesque style to serve the town"s cou ...
Founded: 1170-1200 | Location: Dortmund, Germany

Reinoldikirche

The Lutheran Church of St. Reinold (Reinoldikirche) is dedicated to the patron of the city. The church was built as a palatine church in the Ottonian era. The present building is a late Romanesque church with a late gothic quire. St. Reinold"s was built from 1250 to 1270, and is located in the centre of the city, directly at the crossing of the Hellweg (a historic trade route) and the historic road from Co ...
Founded: 1250-1270 | Location: Dortmund, Germany

Hohensyburg Castle

The Hohensyburg, a castle complex of the Lords of Sieberg, was constructed on the grounds of a former Saxon refuge, which was conquered in 775 by the Franks under Charlemagne. The castle, which was built around 1100 of Ruhr sandstone, was partially destroyed in 1287 by Count Eberhard I. von der Mark. The castle complex was an imperial fief of the von der Mark counts from 1300. This fiefdom was transferred to Brandenburg i ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Dortmund, Germany

Bodelschwingh Castle

Bodelschwingh magnificent castle dates from the 13th century. The current Renaissance style water castle was built in the 16th and 17th centuries. It became to the possession family Innhausen and Knyphausen at the end of the 19th century, whose property the castle is still today.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dortmund, Germany

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter's is a Romanesque church in Syburg, now a suburb of Dortmund. Standing on a rocky outcrop above the confluence of the Ruhr and the Lenne, the sandstone church is one of the most noticeable landmarks in the area. The church is surrounded by a graveyard, which contains the oldest gravestones in Westphalia; three stones date back to between 750 and 850, one of which is in the church. In his desire for Chr ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Dortmund, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.