St. Mary’s Church

Parchim, Germany

The Parchim 'new town' and St. Mary’s Church parish were mentioned for the first time in historical documents dating to 1249: a new town market and St. Mary’s Church with 54-metre high steeple were built at this time. St. Mary's church steeple was finished in 1300 and its silhouette became a well-known landmark in the town. St. Mary’s Church is the oldest preserved building in Parchim and is regarded as one of the most magnificent examples of late Romanesque sacral architecture in Mecklenburg, the church also showing clear early gothic influences. In the 15th century, the church was enlarged on its a northern side, an annex being added and its western gable was renovated in a High Gothic style. Many of the original parts of the building remain standing today. After the northern wing of the building was separated around 1980, the original character of the three-aisle hall church was restored. The side aisles are only half the width of the central aisle, which is crowned by rectangular bays. Thus the interior has gothic proportions with clear emphasis on the building's vertical lines. In the church’s aisles, the visitor finds traces of the the transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic eras.

The clustered columns built on octagonal pedestals that support the church's clearly date to the 13th century, and are quiet different from the ribbed vaulting added in the 14th century. Annexes added to the church's northern wing are clearly Gothic: the annexes feature two bays and a star-shaped vault. The exterior of the Brick Gothic endear themselves to visitors through their rich decoration: you'll find typical German Gothic trimming and round-arched frescos beneath the eaves; strong lisenes at the corners of the annexes, quadrilateral frescos and triangular gables decorated with panels. The church’s interior features a valuable brass baptism font (1365), a beautifully sculptured wing altar (around 1500), a Renaissance-era pulpit and organ pipes as wide as the church itself (installed in the 17th century). The most significant historical of these cultural-historical monuments are the altar, the pulpit and and a seat designed for the use of town councillors.

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Founded: 1249
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

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