The Parchim 'new town' and St. Mary’s Church parish were mentioned for the first time in historical documents dating to 1249: a new town market and St. Mary’s Church with 54-metre high steeple were built at this time.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.References:
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.