The St. Paul's Church is a major Gothic Revival architecture building and one of the landmarks of Strasbourg. Built between 1892 and 1897 during the time of the Reichsland Elsass-Lothringen (1870–1918), the church was designed for the Lutheran members of the Imperial German garrison stationed in Strasbourg. In 1919, after the return of Alsace to France, the church was handed over to the Protestant Reformed Church of Alsace and Lorraine and became its second parish church in the town after Bouclier parish.
For the overall design of the church, architect Louis Muller (1842–1898) drew his inspiration from the Elisabeth Church of Marburg, although he did not slavishly copy its design, gracing St. Paul's Church with three large and elaborate rose windows modelled on the (smaller scaled) rose window adorning the façade of St. Thomas' Church. The 20 m high nave was originally supposed to have four bays instead of three and thus the building to be 5 m longer and shaped like a Latin cross; but because of excessive costs due to technical difficulties with the foundations, it was shortened to a Greek cross. Thanks to its spires rising up to 76 m and its spectacular location at the southern extremity of an island in the middle of the largest section of the Ill River, the church can be seen from far away.
The church furnishings were damaged from British and American bombing raids in August 1944, as well as, as far as the stained glass windows are concerned, from a violent hailstorm in 1958, incidentally the same hailstorm that destroyed most of the Botanical Garden's historical greenhouses. The most outstanding feature inside is the main tribune pipe organ of 1897 (modified in 1934 and restored several times since). This is, by the number of pipes and registers as well as by the sheer size of the organ case, one of the largest instruments in Alsace and most probably Eastern France. In 1976, a second pipe organ was installed in the transept.References:
The Church of Our Lady before Týn is a dominant feature of the Old Town of Prague and has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires.
In the 11th century, this area was occupied by a Romanesque church, which was built there for foreign merchants coming to the nearby Týn Courtyard. Later it was replaced by an early Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn in 1256. Construction of the present church began in the 14th century in the late Gothic style under the influence of Matthias of Arras and later Peter Parler. By the beginning of the 15th century, construction was almost complete; only the towers, the gable and roof were missing. The church was controlled by Hussites for two centuries, including John of Rokycan, future archbishop of Prague, who became the church's vicar in 1427. The roof was completed in the 1450s, while the gable and northern tower were completed shortly thereafter during the reign of George of Poděbrady (1453–1471). His sculpture was placed on the gable, below a huge golden chalice, the symbol of the Hussites. The southern tower was not completed until 1511, under architect Matěj Rejsek.
After the lost Battle of White Mountain (1620) began the era of harsh recatholicisation (part of the Counter-Reformation). Consequently, the sculptures of 'heretic king' George of Poděbrady and the chalice were removed in 1626 and replaced by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, with a giant halo made from by melting down the chalice. In 1679 the church was struck by lightning, and the subsequent fire heavily damaged the old vault, which was later replaced by a lower baroque vault.
Renovation works carried out in 1876–1895 were later reversed during extensive exterior renovation works in the years 1973–1995. Interior renovation is still in progress.
The northern portal is a wonderful example of Gothic sculpture from the Parler workshop, with a relief depicting the Crucifixion. The main entrance is located on the church's western face, through a narrow passage between the houses in front of the church.
The early baroque altarpiece has paintings by Karel Škréta from around 1649. The oldest pipe organ in Prague stands inside this church. The organ was built in 1673 by Heinrich Mundt and is one of the most representative 17th-century organs in Europe.