Ludwigskirche in Old Saarbrücken is a Lutheran baroque-style church. It is the symbol of the city and is considered to be one of the most important Protestant churches in Germany. Ludwigskirche and the surrounding Ludwigsplatz were designed as a 'complete work of art', in the sense of a baroque place royale, by Friedrich Joachim Stengel on the commission of Prince William Henry. Construction was begun in 1762. After the death of William Henry in 1768, work on it was stopped due to lack of funds. The church was finally completed in 1775 by his son, Louis, and it was also named after him.
In 1885-1887 and in 1906-1911, the church underwent restoration. During the Second World War, Ludwigskirche was almost completely destroyed. After a bombing on October 5, 1944, only the surrounding walls remained. Rebuilding began in 1949, however it has still not been completed. The main reason for this long delay was the fierce dispute, which lasted from the 1950s into the 1970s, about whether the baroque interior, which had been completely lost, should also be reconstructed according to the original plans.
The ground plan is shaped somewhat like a Greek cross; the arms are 38.5 m and 34.2 m long and are each 17 m wide. There are niches on the outside which contain statues of the four Evangelists by Francuß Bingh. The stone balustrades were decorated with 28 figures, also by Bingh, depicting the apostles, prophets and other Biblical people. The interior of the church is decorated with ornamental stucco. Each of the four arms of the cross has a gallery supported by two to four caryatids. The floor is made of sandstone.
Special features of the interior are the arrangement of the church by and large along the width of the church, on the one hand, and the placement of the altar, pulpit and organ over each other (a so-called 'pulpit-altar'), on the other hand. The arrangement with the altar, pulpit and organ is rather unusual for a Lutheran church, but it had already been used by Stengel in some of his earlier buildings.
Stengel designed not only the overall plan of the church and the surrounding palaces, from the handles for the doors to the overall grounds, but he also fit the church and the square into the two main viewing axes of the city's layout. One of these axes, from the 'Alten Kirche' (Old Church) in the city district of St. Johann, through the Wilhelm-Heinrich-Straße of today and the main entrance, up to the altar, is still visible today. The other axis points over the exit, which faces the Saarland state chancellery today, toward the former royal summer residences on Ludwigsberg, the so-called Ludwigspark.
The restoration of the original white paint on the exterior is still currently being disputed. Whether it was already lost during the 19th century or during the air raid 1945 is not clear, but it would be important for fitting the church into the surrounding buildings of the square, but it has become quite a strange idea to many local residents in the past decades.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.