Religious sites in Germany

Paderborn Cathedral

Paderborn Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Mary, Saint Kilian and Saint Liborius. Today"s cathedral is located in a position that has been occupied by churches for hundreds of years. Charlemagne had a Kaiserpfalz built near the sources of the Pader river. As early as 777 this palace had an attached church. This church, located north of today"s cathedral, served as chapel to the court as well as a basis for missio ...
Founded: 1100-1145 | Location: Paderborn, Germany

St. Augustine's Church

The mendicant order of Augustinian hermits had a monastery in the Augustinerstrasse from 1260 until 1802. The one-aisled church was newly constructed, together with the monastery, from 1768 to 1772. The Diocesan Priests’ Seminary has been located here since 1805. The ornamentation of the church is so rich because patrons generously supported the work: The Elector did not want a “peasants’ church” i ...
Founded: 1768-1772 | Location: Mainz, Germany

St. George's Minster

St. George"s Minster is the impressive and quite massive church at the historic heart of Dinkelsbühl. The core of the current structure was built in the 15th century - adding on to older buildings that had existed in this area. The tower of the church was originally not planned to be the church tower at all - it was a free-standing structure to the west of the main building which had been built in the 12th cent ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Dinkelsbühl, Germany

Schwerin Cathedral

Schwerin Cathedral was formerly a Roman Catholic cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint John. It was built in Schwerin following the move here of the seat of the Bishopric of the Abodrites, established by Henry the Lion, from the old city of Mecklenburg in the late 12th century. The first cathedral was built of timber. The foundation stone of the stone cathedral of the Prince-Bishopric of Schwerin was laid in 1 ...
Founded: 1172-1248 | Location: Schwerin, Germany

Basilica of St. Vitus

The first true knowledge about the foundation of the St. Vitus abbey dates back to a document from the late 11th century, probably from the scriptorium of the monastery of Gladbach. This richly illuminated document reports that a nobleman long before the founding of the abbey would have erected a church on the top of the hill, a church destroyed by the Magyars in 954. In 1120, at the latest, the monastery was affected ...
Founded: 1228-1277 | Location: Mönchengladbach, Germany

St. Catherine's Church

St. Catherine Church is a Brick Gothic church which belonged to a former Franciscan monastery in the name of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The Church was built in the early 14th century. It is part of the Lübeck world heritage and used as a museum church and exhibition hall by the Lübeck museums since 1980. The exhibits include a copy of Saint George and the Dragon made by Bernt Notke for Storkyrkan in Stockholms Gaml ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Lübeck, Germany

Frauenchiemsee Abbey

Frauenchiemsee monastery was founded in 782 by Tassilo III, Duke of Bavaria. After the destruction of the Hungarian incursions, the monastery"s heyday was between the 11th and 15th centuries. The monastery buildings were rebuilt between 1728 and 1732. In the course of the German Mediatisation the monastery was secularised between 1803 and 1835. King Ludwig I of Bavaria rebuilt the Benedictine monastery in 1836 under the n ...
Founded: 782 AD | Location: Chiemsee, Germany

Gengenbach Abbey

Gengenbach Abbey was an Imperial Benedictine Abbey from the late Carolingian period to 1803. It was founded by Saint Pirmin (d. 735) sometime after his expulsion from Reichenau in 727 and settled by monks from Gorze Abbey. It enjoyed good relations with the Carolingian dynasty and soon became an Imperial abbey, with territorial independence. In 1007, however, Emperor Henry II presented it to his newly founded Prince-Bisho ...
Founded: c. 730 AD | Location: Gengenbach, Germany

Doberan Minster

The Doberan Minster is the main Lutheran Church of Bad Doberan. Close to the Baltic Sea and the Hanseatic city of Rostock, it is the most important religious heritage of the European Route of Brick Gothic. It is the remaining part of the Ex-Cistercian Doberan Abbey, dedicated in 1368. The first abbey in Mecklenburg, founded in 1171, which was also used as the burial site for the regional rulers, became important both poli ...
Founded: 1368 | Location: Bad Doberan, Germany

St. Severus Church

The romanesque church of St. Severus with its two towers was built in the 12th-13th centuries over the Roman baths. The church has a rich architectural construction and very decorative frescoes. Unique details are the Triumph Cross (13th century), early Christian gravestones and baptismal font (6th century).
Founded: 12th century | Location: Boppard, Germany

Niedermünster Abbey Church

The Niedermünster was a house of canonesses in Regensburg. At the height of its power it was one of the wealthiest and most influential in Bavaria. The church is still in use as the parish church of Regensburg Cathedral. This women's religious community, dedicated to Saint Erhard of Regensburg at its founding and later to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary as well, was recorded for the first time in about 889. However, t ...
Founded: 788 AD | Location: Regensburg, Germany

St. Nicholas Church

Not far from the Old Market Square stands Bielefeld’s oldest town church, Altstädter Nicolaikirche, which became an independent parish church in 1236. The interior of this Gothic hall church (1340) features a priceless wooden altar carved at the Antwerp workshops of the St. Luke’s guild in 1524. The carvings depict more than 250 figures in scenes from biblical stories.
Founded: 1340 | Location: Bielefeld, Germany

St. Mary's Church

The 80 m high tower church of St Mary (Marienkirche) is the only remainder of the original Brick Gothic edifice, built in the first half of the 13th century. It suffered heavy damage in World War II, and was deliberately destroyed in 1960 under the East German Communist government. St. Mary"s Church stands in the immediate vicinity of the market square and town hall, and was appropriately enough Wismar"s main parish chur ...
Founded: 1339 | Location: Wismar, Germany

St. Florin' s Church

St. Florin" s Church is a triple-naved Romanesque pillared basilica (founded in the 12th century) with Gothic chancel (1350) on Roman tower. The original flat timber ceiling was renewed in 1708, and the squat towers were replaced in 1900 by pointed ones. Nearby is the city"s oldest dwelling house. Opposite, where the vicarage belonging to the Church of our Beloved Lady now stands, is the site where the central s ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Koblenz, Germany

Eichstätt Cathedral

Together with the cloister and the mortuary, the two-aisled Eichstätt cathedral is regarded as one of the most important medieval monuments in Bavaria. The first Roman Catholic cathedral of Our Lady and Sts. Willibald and Salvator was built in the 8th century. It was destroyed during the Hungarian invasions but the church preserved. Parts of this church have been preserved in the masonry. The current cathedral has parts ...
Founded: 1022 | Location: Eichstätt, Germany

Ettal Abbey

Ettal Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in the village of Ettal close to Oberammergau and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It is one of the largest Benedictine houses and is a major attraction for visitors. Ettal Abbey was founded in 1330 by Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian in the Graswang valley, in fulfilment of an oath on his return from Italy, on a site of strategic importance on the primary trade route between Italy and Augsburg. ...
Founded: 1330 | Location: Ettal, Germany

Eberbach Abbey

Kloster Eberbach was founded in 1136 by Bernard of Clairvaux as the first Cistercian monastery on the east bank of the Rhine, on the site of a previous monastic foundation of Adalbert of Mainz, which had been occupied at first by Augustinian canons and then by Benedictine monks, which had however failed to establish itself. Eberbach soon became one of the largest and most active monasteries of Germany. At its height in t ...
Founded: 1136 | Location: Eltville am Rhein, Germany

St. Mary's Church

St. Mary"s Church, the parish church in which Luther often preached, was built in the 13th century, but has been much altered since Luther"s time. The reformers Martin Luther and Johannes Bugenhagen preached there and the building also saw the first celebration of the mass in German rather than Latin and the first ever distribution of the bread and wine to the congregation - it is thus considered the mother ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany

Bautzen Cathedral

St. Peter"s Cathedral is an interdenominational church in Bautzen. It is among the oldest and largest simultaneum churches in Germany. The first church was built around the 1000 AD. Near the beginning of the 13th century, a cathedral was built under the supervision of Bishop Bruno II. Between 1456 and 1463, the cathedral that now stands was constructed and named after St. Peter. A fourth nave was added to the ...
Founded: 1456-1463 | Location: Bautzen, Germany

Andechs Abbey

The Benedictine priory and erstwhile abbey of Andechs is a place of pilgrimage and famed for its flamboyant Baroque church (1712). The abbey runs a brewery, Klosterbrauerei Andechs. The site of Andechs was originally occupied by a castle belonging to the counts of Dießen on the Ammersee, probably built on a Roman castrum, and remained the seat of the powerful counts of Dießen-Andechs (1135 to 1180) and dukes ...
Founded: 1455 | Location: Andechs, 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.