Top Historic Sights in Erfurt, Germany

Explore the historic highlights of Erfurt

Erfurt Synagogue

The Erfurt Synagogue was built c. 1094. It is thought to be the oldest synagogue building still standing in Europe. Thanks to the extensive preservation of the original structure, it has a special place in the history of art and architecture and is among the most impressive and highly rated architectural monuments in Erfurt and Thuringia. The synagogue was constructed during the Middle Ages on the via regia, one of the ma ...
Founded: c. 1094 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

St. Severus Church

The Church of St. Severus, a five-naved early Gothic hall church, was a collegiate church for the regular canons of St Augustine during the 12th century. Today, along with the cathedral, it is Erfurts most famous landmark.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Erfurt Cathedral

Erfurt Cathedral, dedicated to St. Mary, is a late Gothic cathedral which replaced the church built on this site for Bishop Boniface in 742. Martin Luther was ordained in the cathedral in 1507. The architecture of the Erfurt Cathedral is mainly Gothic and stems from around the 14th and 15th centuries. There are many things of note as far as the architecture is concerned, not least the stained glass windows and furnishing ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Merchants' Bridge

The Krämerbrücke (Merchants" bridge) is a medieval bridge which is lined with inhabited, half timbered buildings on both sides. The bridge was built next to a ford and was part of the Via Regia, a medieval trade and pilgrims" road network, which linked Rome with the Baltic Sea, and Moscow with Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. Originally constructed from wood, the bridge was first mentioned in ...
Founded: 1325 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Predigerkirche

Predigerkirche ('Preacher"s Church') is a monastic church to the Dominican friary adjacent to the church. Predigerkirche was originally built by the Dominican Order in the 13th century, when the mystic Meister Eckhart was prior here. The church only became a Protestant church after the Reformation. The original building was modified in 1340-50, and the bell tower was built between 1447 and 1488. Around 1806 ...
Founded: 1340-1350 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Petersberg Citadel

The Petersberg Citadel is one of the largest extant early-modern citadels in Europe and covers the whole north-western part of the city centre. It was built after 1665 on Petersberg hill and was in military use until 1963. It dates from a time when Erfurt was ruled by the Electors of Mainz and is a unique example of the European style of fortress construction. Beneath the citadel is an underground maze of passageways that ...
Founded: 1665 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Kaufmannskirche St. Gregor

The Kaufmannskirche St. Gregor (Merchant"s Church St Gregory) is a 14th-century Gothic parish church at Anger Square. It is one of the largest and most important original parish churches in Erfurt. The parents of Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Ambrosius Bach and Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt married here in 1668. The former Romanesque building (11th century) on the site was burnt down in 1291. The consecration of t ...
Founded: 1368 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

St. Augustine's Monastery

The church and monastery of the Augustinian hermits in Erfurt was built around 1300. Martin Luther, the famous Augustinian monk, was admitted to the monastery on 17 July 1505. The Augustinian Monastery pays tribute to Martin Luther with a new exhibition. The Lutherzelle (Luther's cell) can be visited as part of the exhibition. Since 1988 the monastery has been used as an ecumenical conference centre and a memorial to Luth ...
Founded: 1300 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Cyriaksburg Fortress

The Cyriaksburg Fortress is situated on a hill outside the city gates of Erfurt. The construction was started in 1480 but not completed until about 1604. The shape of the foundations is like a rectangle with unequal sides. Two strong round towers from 1528 have been preserved. One of them is now used as a viewing tower and the other one houses an observatory. The moat is also partly visible. From 1631 to 1649, during the ...
Founded: 1480-1604 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.