Liebfrauenkirche

Trier, Germany

The Liebfrauenkirche (German for Church of Our Lady) is, along with the Cathedral of Magdeburg the earliest Gothic church in Germany and falls into the architectural tradition of the French Gothic cathedrals. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A Roman double church originally stood here. The southern portion was torn down around 1200 and completely replaced by the Early Gothic Church of Our Lady (Liebfrauen). The exact date of the start of construction can no longer be determined, however a painted inscription inside on a column in the church reads: 'The construction of this church was started in 1227 and ended in 1243'. However, it is currently thought construction began in 1230 by Archbishop of Trier Theodoric II.

Around 1260, the building was probably finished. In 1492, a high peak was placed on the central tower, which was named because of its high technology and degree of craftsmanship perfection. The high peak can be seen on the city dating, but was destroyed in a storm on Heimsuchungstag (July 2) in 1631. Subsequently a hipped roof emplaced, which was destroyed in the Second World War. It was first replaced in 1945 by a roof and then by a steeper one in 2003.

A special feature of the basilica is its atypical cruciform floor plan as a round church, whose cross-shaped vaulting with four corresponding portals in rounded niches is completed by eight rounded altar niches so that the floor plan resembles a twelve-petaled rose, a symbol of the Virgin Mary, the rosa mystica, and reminiscent of the twelve tribes of Israel and the Twelve Apostles. The apostles as well as the twelve articles of the Apostle's Creed are painted on the twelve supporting columns, completely visible only from one spot marked by a black stone.

Though nothing above the surface is Roman any longer, but there are extensive excavations (not open to the public) underneath the church and several of the Gothic pillars stand on top of Roman column foundations.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: c. 1230
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

priya darshini (3 months ago)
Beautiful church must visit
Riccardo Viano (5 months ago)
Magnificent church in the heart of trier, close to Palastgarten and Kaiserthermen.
S Bae (7 months ago)
One of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever visited. It is registered to UNESCO heritage.
Thomas Buelow (11 months ago)
This is the best thing to see in Trier by far! Just s very cool looking place with all thechurch buildings and the well kept greens.
Frumpled Biscuit (2 years ago)
Beautiful church. Truly massive. Unfortunately the hours are limited for visitation. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. Pictures are welcome, but do be respectful and turn off any flash settings >_> I believe this is designated a world UNESCO site. Add it to your list of you're trying to check those places off! There are quite a few things to admire in this church, including glass windows, elaborate sculptures and masonry, as well as a few other typical Christian-themed art works.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.