Religious sites in Germany

Hamburg Cathedral

St. Mary"s Cathedral stands in Danziger Straße and was built between 1890 and 1893 to the designs of Arnold Güldenpfennig. The church was erected in Romanesque revival style at the instigation of Bishop Bernhard Höting of Osnabrück, then simultaneously officiating as Vicar Apostolic of the Vicariate Apostolic of the Nordic Missions of Germany, then competent for Hamburg"s Catholics. It was t ...
Founded: 1890-1893 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is a renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is Germany"s most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day. Begun in 1248, the building of this Gothic masterpiece took place in several stages and was not completed until 1880. Over seven centuries, its successive builders were inspired by the same faith and b ...
Founded: 1248 | Location: Cologne, Germany

Bonn Minster

The Bonn Minster (Bonner Münster) is one of Germany"s oldest churches, having been built between the 11th and 13th centuries. At one point the church served as the cathedral for the Archbishopric of Cologne. Castra Bonnensia was a fortress on the site of current Bonn built by the Romans in the 1st century AD. It survived the breakup of the Roman Empire as a civilian settlement, and in the 9th century it became t ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bonn, Germany

Minden Cathedral

Minden Cathedral, dedicated to Saints Gorgonius and Peter, is a Roman Catholic church in the city of Minden. From the year 803 AD, when the area was conquered by Charlemagne, it was the center of a diocese and subsequently became the center of a small sovereign state, a prince-bishopric of Minden, until the time of the Peace of Westphalia (1648), when Minden was secularized as the Principality of Minden (which l ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Minden, Germany

Barth Abbey

Barth Abbey was originally a castle built around 1573 by Bogislaw XIII. After his departure, the castle was neglected, damaged in the various wars and was repaired only in a makeshift manner. In 1710/1711, it served as a court venue for the last time. After 1722, the Swedish King gave the ruins of the castle to the Swedish-Western Pomeranian knights as a present. From 1733 to 1741, the baroque building complex of the Aris ...
Founded: 1573 | Location: Barth, Germany

Comburg Abbey

Comburg was a Benedictine monastery founded in the late 1070s by the Counts of Comburg-Rothenburg on the site of their castle. The first monks were from Brauweiler Abbey, but in the 1080s an abbot from Hirsau Abbey was appointed, and this brought Comburg into the movement of the Hirsau Reforms. The monks of Comburg were exclusively of noble birth, and accordingly resisted the Benedictine reforms of the 15th century, unde ...
Founded: 1070s | Location: Comburg, Germany

Aura Abbey

Aura Abbey was a house of the Benedictine Order located at Aura an der Saale. Built on the site of an earlier castle, and dedicated to Saints Laurence and Gregory, it was founded by Bishop Otto of Bamberg between about 1108 and 1113; the foundation charter is dated 1122. The new foundation was settled by monks from Hirsau Abbey. The first abbot was Ekkehard of Aura, a monk from Bamberg, famous as the continuer of the Welt ...
Founded: 1108-1122 | Location: Aura an der Saale, Germany

The Church of Our Lady

The Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) is undoubtedly the most famous landmark in the city of Munich. Its impressive domed twin towers rising a hundred metres into the sky can be seen from miles around. This triple-naved late-Gothic cathedral in Munich"s old quarter, which houses art treasures spanning five centuries, is the cathedral church of the Archbishop of Munich and Freising. The late-Gothic brick edifice with its ...
Founded: 1468-1488 | Location: Munich, Germany

St. Michael's Church

St. Michael"s Church is a landmark of Hamburg and considered to be one of the finest Hanseatic Protestant baroque churches. The church was purposely built Protestant unlike many other Hamburg churches which were originally built by Roman Catholics and were converted to Protestantism during the Reformation. It is dedicated to the Archangel Michael. A large bronze statue, standing above the portal of the church shows t ...
Founded: 1786 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

St. Mary's Church

The exact age of the original St. Mary"s Church (Marienkirche) site and structure is not precisely known, but it was first mentioned in German chronicles in 1292. It is presumed to date from earlier in the 13th century. The architecture of the building is now largely composed of comparatively modern restoration work which took place in the late 19th century and in the post-war period. The church was originally a Roma ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Berlin, Germany

St. Nicholas' Church

The Gothic Revival Church of St. Nicholas was formerly one of the five Lutheran Hauptkirchen (main churches) in the city of Hamburg. The church lies now in ruins, with only its tower remaining, serving as a memorial and an important architectural landmark. The church was the tallest building in the world from 1874 to 1876 and is still the second-tallest structure in Hamburg. With the founding of the Nikolai settlement an ...
Founded: 1846-1863 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

Lorch Church

The Gothic parish church in Lorch was first built in the 13th century and it is dedicated to St. Martin. The tower dates from 1576. The wooden altar (1483) is worth of seeing. There is also an early Gothic cruficix from the 13th century and font from 1464.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lorch, Germany

Limburg Cathedral

The Cathedral of Limburg is one of the best preserved late Romanesque style buildings. It is unknown When the first church was built above the Lahn river. Archaeological discoveries have revealed traces of a 9th-century church building in the area of the current chapel. It was probably built in Merovingian times as a castle and the chapel added in the early 9th century. In 910 AD, Count Konrad Kurzbold (cousin of the fut ...
Founded: 1180-1235 | Location: Limburg an der Lahn, Germany

St. Cecilia's Church

St. Cecilia"s Church (Cäcilienkirche) is one of the twelve Romanesque churches in Cologne’s old city. The present building, little changed since its inception, dates from 1130-60. The origin of the church building stems from the 9th century, during which a women’s home of the same name was founded at the site, during the reign of Archbishop Willibert in 870-888. It was built on the ruins of a prior Roman bath. ...
Founded: 1130-1160 | Location: Cologne, Germany

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter"s Church is the oldest church in the Munich district. Before the foundation of Munich as a city in 1158, there had been a pre-Merovingian church on this site. 8th century monks lived around this church on a hill called Petersbergl. At the end of the 12th century a new church in the Bavarian Romanesque style was consecrated, and expanded in Gothic style shortly before the great fire in 1327, which destroyed ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Munich, Germany

Villingen Münster

Construction of the Villingen Münster first began in 1120. The late Romanesque church was rebuilt in around 1220. Heinrich von Fürstenberg chose the church as his burial site. In 1530, the dedication of the church was changed from John the Baptist to Mary and was consequently renamed "Church of our Lady".
Founded: 1120 | Location: Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter"s Church in Hamburg stands on the site of many former cathedrals. It was probably built originally in 1189 and first documented in 1195. In about 1310, the cathedral was rebuilt in a Gothic style and was completed in approximately 1418. The bronze lion-head door handles, the oldest work of art of Hamburg, date from the foundation of the tower in 1342. A second tower, built in 1516, towered above even the H ...
Founded: 1189 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

St. James' Church

St. James" Church is one of the five principal churches of Hamburg. The history of the church goes back to 1255 when St. James" was a small chapel located outside the Hamburg city walls. After these were extended in 1260, it became part of the Hamburg city territory. Between 1350 and 1400, the chapel was replaced by a hall church with three naves, similar to St. Peter"s. Around one hundred years later, a f ...
Founded: 1255 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

Berlin Cathedral

The history of the cathedral on Berlin’s Spree Island began in 1465, when the St. Erasmus Chapel in the newly built royal palace of Cölln on the Spree was elevated to the stature of collegiate church. In 1536, Elector Joachim II moved the it into the former Dominican church, south of the palace.With Martin Luther’s support, the elector established the Reformation in 1539, and the church became a Lutheran. In 1608, th ...
Founded: 1894-1905 | Location: Berlin, Germany

Church of Our Lady

The current building of Church of Our Lady dates from the 13th century. The church was originally dedicated to Saint Vitus. It served as market church of the city and later also as church of the city council. Around 1020, a new building was erected of which only the crypt still exists, decorated with medieval frescos. The church was extended to form a basilica in the middle of the 12th century. Around 1220, it was consecr ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bremen, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Beersel Castle

The moated castle at Beersel is one of the few exceptionally well-preserved examples of medieval fortifications in Belgium. It remains pretty much as it must have appeared in the 15th century. Remarkably, it was never converted into a fortified mansion. A visitor is able to experience at first-hand how it must have felt to live in a heavily fortified castle in the Middle Ages.

The castle was built in around 1420 as a means of defence on the outer reaches of Brussels. The tall, dense walls and towers were intended to hold any besiegers at bay. The moat and the marshy ground along its eastern, southern and western edges made any attack a formidable proposition. For that reason, any attackers would have chosen its weaker northern defences where the castle adjoins higher lying ground. But the castle was only taken and destroyed on one occasion in 1489, by the inhabitants of Brussels who were in rebellion against Maximilian of Austria.

After being stormed and plundered by the rebels it was partially rebuilt. The pointed roofs and stepped gables are features which have survived this period. The reconstruction explains why two periods can be identified in the fabric of the edifice, particularly on the outside.

The red Brabant sandstone surrounds of the embrasures, now more or less all bricked up, are characteristic of the 15th century. The other embrasures, edged with white sandstone, date from the end of the 15th century. They were intended for setting up the artillery fire. The merlons too are in white sandstone. The year 1617 can be clearly seen in the foundation support on the first tower. This refers to restorations carried out at the time by the Arenberg family.

Nowadays, the castle is dominated by three massive towers. The means of defence follow the classic pattern: a wide, deep moat surrounding the castle, a drawbridge, merlons on the towers, embrasures in the walls and in the towers, at more or less regular intervals, and machiolations. Circular, projecting towers ensured that attacks from the side could be thwarted. If the enemy were to penetrate the outer wall, each tower could be defended from embrasures facing onto the inner courtyard.

The second and third towers are flanked by watchtowers from which shots could be fired directly below. Between the second and third tower are two openings in the walkway on the wall. It is not clear what these were used for. Were these holes used for the disposing of rubbish, or escape routes. The windows on the exterior are narrow and low. All light entering comes from the interior. The few larger windows on the exterior date from a later period. It is most probable that the third tower - the highest - was used as a watchtower.