St. Michael's Church

Hamburg, Germany

St. Michael's Church is a landmark of Hamburg and considered to be one of the finest Hanseatic Protestant baroque churches. The church was purposely built Protestant unlike many other Hamburg churches which were originally built by Roman Catholics and were converted to Protestantism during the Reformation. It is dedicated to the Archangel Michael. A large bronze statue, standing above the portal of the church shows the archangel conquering the devil.

The 132-meter high Baroque spire totally covered with copper is a prominent feature of Hamburg’s skyline and has always been a landfall mark for ships sailing up the river Elbe.

The present church building is the third one at this site. The first one was built from 1647 to 1669. It became the church of the new town (Neustadt), which was created in 1625 inside the new city walls, and which grew steadily since. In 1687, the Michel became the fifth chapter church (Hauptkirche), as the new town became a parish. That church was destroyed on March 10, 1750, by a lightning strike. The original church has been replicated and built in 9 different cities around the world.

In 1786, a new construction of the current church following the design of Johann Leonhard Prey and Ernst Georg Sonnin was completed. It was reconstructed twice in the 20th century: after catching fire in 1906 during construction work and after the bombings of 1944 and 1945. Since 1983, renovation is ongoing: first the spire and then the roof.

Offering 2,500 seats, the Michael is the largest church in Hamburg. The pulpit is in the center of the building which was crafted out of marble by sculptor Otto Lessing from Dresden in 1910. It was designed to look like a rounded chalice and features a magnificent staircase. The large pulpit roof is crowned by the Angel of Annunciation.

Made from white marble, the baptismal font was crafted in Livorno in 1763 and donated by Hamburg merchants who lived there at that time. The baptismal font is reminiscent of a seashell and supported by three baptism angels.

The altar is 20 meters tall and was built from costly marble in 1910. The altar features three sections illustrating key scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. The central image portrays the Resurrection of Jesus and, below it, a relief depicts the Last Supper. Above the central image, there is a large crucifix. Located at the very top, the altar crown takes the form of a dove as a symbol of the Holy Spirit and is surrounded by a radiant circle. To the right and left of the radiant circle, two angels are kneeling and bowing their heads.

In the church crypt, there are 2,425 people interred, including Johann Mattheson and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. The grave chambers are deeply excavated for four coffins above the other. During the French occupation of Hamburg in 1813, burials were banned within the city and therefore also in the crypt.

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Details

Founded: 1786
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Emerging States (Germany)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Des le Grange (3 years ago)
Spectacular. A must see in Hamburg. 4 Euro to climb or take the elevator to the top, and another 2 euro to see the crypt. The views at the top are spectacular, but it is freezing up there in winter so dress appropriately. The information displays on the way up to the top need to be redone. In the crypt you are walking directly on the gravestones, there is no effort to preserve the stone engravings which I find very strange. I would give the crypt a 3 star, nothing amazing and would not really recommend it.
Varun Menghani (3 years ago)
Beautiful and massive church. You can go to the top of the tower and the crypt. View of Hamburg from the top was amazing. Ticket to go to the top is 5
Bianca Piza (3 years ago)
One of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen! So majestic! I have no words to describe. You HAVE to visit it someday in your life!
Carl Bray (4 years ago)
This was an amazing place, spotted the Christmas market outside then went into the Church only to find another Christmas market deep within the crypt beneath the Church ! Everyone was so friendly and one of the chocolate stalls let me try different ones before I bought some. Brilliant!The Church itself is a an amazing building, so massive and tall I used it as a focal point when getting my bearings. Majestic building.
Francis Lawton (4 years ago)
Great views of Hamburg from the top of the tower, reasonable entry cost and there's also a lift if you don't want to take the stairs. Great opportunity to see the port and the other churches of Hamburg. Would definitely recommend visiting near sunset. The rest of the church is also something to be marvelled at.
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