St. Mary's Church

Lübeck, Germany

St. Mary's Church is the third largest church in Germany. It was built between 1250 and 1350 and has always been a symbol of the power and prosperity of the old Hanseatic city, and is situated at the highest point of the island that forms the old town of Lübeck. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the old Hanseatic City of Lübeck.

St. Mary"s epitomizes north German Brick Gothic and set the standard for about 70 other churches in the Baltic region, making it a building of enormous architectural significance. St Mary"s Church embodied the towering style of French Gothic architecture style using north German brick. It has the tallest brick vault in the world, the height of the central nave being 38.5 metres.

It is built as a three-aisled basilica with side chapels, an ambulatory with radiating chapels, and vestibules like the arms of a transept. The westwork has a monumental two-tower façade. The height of the towers, including the weather vanes, is 124.95 metres and 124.75 metres, respectively.

Numerous works of arts are to be found in St. Mary"s interior: The Cross of Triumph by Gerhard Marcks in the high choir above the Swarte Altar from 1495 is as much at home here as the largest mechanical organ in the world. The well-known church musician and composer Dietrich Buxtehude was St. Mary"s organist and work master from 1667 to 1707.

The commemorative chapel in the south tower with its church bells possesses a unique expressive power. The bells plunged to the stone floor during the 1942 air raids. The Gothic brick basilica has a medieval painting, the largest peel of bells in Schleswig-Holstein and a carillon with 36 bells from St. Catherine"s Church in Danzig.

The two danse macabre windows take the motif and figures from the frieze of the Lübeck danse macabre burned in 1942.

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Details

Founded: 1250-1350
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Roman Havrysh (3 years ago)
Great old church
Nándor Tóth (4 years ago)
interesting place to visit with fine surrounding area
Soonashir Panday (4 years ago)
Majestic filled with historic importance.
Rachel Lim (4 years ago)
Beautiful church, well worth the entry fee (1.50 euro for students, ~2.00 for adults).
san antonio Dweller (5 years ago)
Beautiful Lutheran church. More beautiful on the outside than the inside. It has a very white-washed interior typical of the more austere protestant style.
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Saint-Eustache

The Church of St Eustace was built between 1532-1632. St Eustace"s is considered a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here in the 17th century. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there.

The origins of Saint Eustache date back to 13th century. The church became a parish church in 1223, thanks to a man named Jean Alais who achieved this by taxing the baskets of fish sold nearby, as granted by King Philip Augustus. To thank such divine generosity, Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr. The construction of the current church began in 1532, the work not being finally completed until 1637. The name of the church refers to Saint Eustace, a Roman general of the second century AD who was burned, along with his family, for converting to Christianity, and it is believed that it was the transfer of a relic of Saint Eustache from the Abbey to Saint-Denis to the Church of Saint Eustache which resulted in its naming. Jeanne Baptiste d"Albert de Luynes was baptised here.

According to tourist literature on-site, during the French Revolution the church, like most churches in Paris, was desecrated, looted, and used for a time as a barn. The church was restored after the Revolution had run its course and remains in use today. Several impressive paintings by Rubens remain in the church today. Each summer, organ concerts commemorate the premieres of Berlioz’s Te Deum and Liszt’s Christus here in 1886.

The church is an example of a Gothic structure clothed in Renaissance detail. The church is relatively short in length at 105m, but its interior is 33.45m high to the vaulting. At the main façade, the left tower has been completed in Renaissance style, while the right tower remains a stump. The front and rear aspects provide a remarkable contrast between the comparatively sober classical front and the exuberant rear, which integrates Gothic forms and organization with Classical details. The L"écoute sculpture by Henri de Miller appears outside the church, to the south. A Keith Haring sculpture stands in a chapel of the church.

The Chapel of the Virgin was built in 1640 and restored from 1801 to 1804. It was inaugurated by Pius VII on the 22nd of December, 1804 when he came to Paris for the coronation of Napoleon. The apse chapel, with a ribbed cul-de-four vault, has at its centre a sculpture of the Virgin and Child of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle that the painter Thomas Couture highlighted by three large paintings.

With 8,000 pipes, the organ is reputed to be the largest pipe organ in France, surpassing the organs of Saint Sulpice and Notre Dame de Paris. The organ originally constructed by P.-A. Ducroquet was powerful enough for the premiere of Hector Berlioz" titanic Te Deum to be performed at St-Eustache in 1855.