Religious sites in Germany

St. Mary's Church

St. Mary's Church (Marienkirche) is a large Lutheran church built some time before 1298. It is architecturally Gothic, an example of the brick gothic style prevalent in northern Germany. Between 1625 and 1647, it was the tallest building in the world at 151 metres tall. The bell tower collapsed in 1382, and was rebuilt by 1478. In 1495, the steeple tower blew down during a severe storm, and was then rebuilt taller. This ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Stralsund, Germany

Herrenberg Church

The Collegiate Church (Stiftskirche) towers over the town of Herrenberg, dominating the cityscape. It was built in two main phases of construction (1276-1293 and 1471-1493) and was the first Gothic hall church to be completed in Württemberg. In 1749 the two Gothic towers were demolished and replaced by the Baroque onion dome. Among the church"s outstanding features are the baptismal font from 1472, the stone pu ...
Founded: 1276-1493 | Location: Herrenberg, Germany

Abbey of the Holy Cross

The Abbey of the Holy Cross in Rostock was founded in the 13th century by Cistercian nuns. It is the only completely preserved abbey in the city. The complex includes the former abbey church which is used today as the University Church (Universitätskirche). The remaining convent buildings house the Museum of Cultural History (Kulturhistorische Museum) for the city of Rostock. The nunnery was founded by the Danish Qu ...
Founded: 1270 | Location: Rostock, 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. Michael's Church

St. Michael"s Church in Fulda is considered to be the oldest Holy Sepulchre church in Germany, built in the Carolingian architectural style (Pre-Romanesque) by the abbot Eigil in the years 820-822. It served as a burial chapel to Fulda monastery founded in 744, which was one of the prominent cultural centres of the early Middle Ages. St. Michael stands in the neighbourhood of Fulda cathedral, and the architect was pr ...
Founded: 820-822 AD | Location: Fulda, Germany

Naumburg Cathedral

Naumburg Cathedral is a renowned landmark of the German late Romanesque and has been recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018. The west choir with the famous donor portrait statues of the twelve cathedral founders (Stifterfiguren) and the Lettner, works of the Naumburg Master, is one of the most significant early Gothic monuments. The history of the town of Naumburg begins at the turn of the 9th and ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Naumburg (Saale), Germany

St. John’s Monastery

Founded by the Franciscans in 1254 St. John’s Monastery attracts its visitors with the monastery itself, a beautiful rose garden, the chapter hall, cross-shaped vaults and a baroque library. Furthermore, the monastery buildings house a much-used municipal archive, providing a broad collection of historical documents, records, books, old pictures and prints of the town.
Founded: 1254 | Location: Stralsund, Germany

Aegidienkirche

The Aegidienkirche, dated back to 1163, was the furthest east of the three churches in the old city - the other two were the Marktkirche and the Kreuzkirche. It was dedicated to Saint Giles. It was destroyed in a 1943 air-raid on the city and left in ruins as a war memorial.
Founded: 1163 | Location: Hanover, Germany

Carmelite Church

The Carmelite Church is Gothic and was built in the 14th century. It has a wealth of treasures, including gravestones and the choir stalls (15th century). That the Carmelite monks honoured Our Lady can be seen in the many illustrations of Mary e.g. the Grape Madonna (outside the church), the Madonna in the Rosary and the Pieta. The former Carmelite monastery is now the Town Hall.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Boppard, Germany

St. Michael's Church

The Church of St. Michael is an early-Romanesque church in Hildesheim. It has been on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list since 1985 together with near St. Mary"s Cathedral. Bishop Bernward of Hildesheim (996-1022) built a Benedictine monastery from the ground up on a hill near the city walls. Bernward set the first stone for the new church in 1010 and dedicated the still unfinished building to Michael on the ar ...
Founded: 1010-1022 | Location: Hildesheim, Germany

Scots Monastery

The Scots Monastery (Schottenkirche) is the former Benedictine Abbey of St James in Regensburg. Irish missionaries first arrived in Regensburg in the 11th century, originally setting up camp just south of the city walls. Later the monks purchased a new site outside the western city gate and began building their monastery around 1100. The Church of St. James, a three-aisled basilica with three apses and two east towers, wa ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Ludwigskirche

The Catholic Parish and University Church St. Louis, called Ludwigskirche, is a monumental church in neo-romanesque style with the second-largest altar fresco of the world. The building, with its round arches called the Rundbogenstil, strongly influenced other church architecture, train stations and synagogues in both Germany and the United States. The Ludwigskirche was built by the architect Friedrich von Gärtner f ...
Founded: 1829 | Location: Munich, Germany

St. James' Church

The oldest part of the St. James parish church is the tower chapel (10th century) with two compact columns and cube-shaped capitals (Chapel of Grace today). The church was erected in the 12th century as the result of a vow made by Engelhard Brömser who had promised to build a church if he returned home safely from his captivity by the Moors. The Gothic hall church from the 14th/15th century is also a gift from the Br ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany

St. Gereon's Basilica

St. Gereon's Basilica (Basilika Sankt Gereon) was first mentioned in 612. However, the building of the choir gallery, apse, and transepts occurred later, beginning under Archbishop Arnold II von Wied in 1151 and ending in 1227. It is one of twelve great churches in Cologne that were built in the Romanesque style. St. Gereon has a highly irregular plan, the nave being covered by a decagonal oval dome, 21.0 m long and ...
Founded: 1151-1227 | Location: Cologne, 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

Carmelite Monastery

The Carmelite monastery of Bamberg was founded in the 12th century and turned into a baroque style building by Leonhard Dientzenhofer in 1692-1701. The church dedicated to St. Theodor was part of a Cistercian convent, whose nuns devoted themselves to nursing in the 13th century. In 1589, Carmelites moved into the building, that had been deserted in the meantime. Behind the monastery"s baroque facade, the visitor is g ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bamberg, Germany

Basilica of St. Cunibert

The Basilica of St. Cunibert is the newest of Cologne"s twelve Romanesque churches. It was consecrated 1247, one year before work on the Gothic Cologne Cathedral began. It was declared a minor Basilica in 1998. A small church located at a burial ground north of the Roman city was founded or renewed by Cunibert, ninth Bishop of Cologne. Cunibert was also buried there. After 690 the Two Ewalds were buried in t ...
Founded: 1247 | Location: Cologne, Germany

St. Stephen's Church

St. Stephen"s church was founded in 1180. It has beautiful stucco ornaments made in the Rococo period. The altars dates from the 1780s.
Founded: 1180 | Location: Lindau (Bodensee), Germany

St. Georg's Church

St. Georg"s Church is one of twelve Romanesque churches in the city of Cologne. The date of the foundation of St Georg"s is unknown, but it was consecrated towards the end of the 11th century. The nave was vaulted in the mid-12th century, the westwerk was added in 1188 and the entrance portal on the north side in 1551. The church was damaged during World War II, resulting in extensive restoration which i ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Cologne, Germany

Kreuzkirche

Kreuzkirche was completed in 1333. It was built from brick in the same Baroque style that still prevails throughout the district. This is one of three churches in Hanover’s city centre. It was restored at the end of the 20th century, and houses an altar designed by the sculptor Lucas Cranach.
Founded: 1333 | Location: Hanover, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.