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.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.