St. Peter's Church

Hamburg, Germany

St. Peter's Church in Hamburg stands on the site of many former cathedrals. It was probably built originally in 1189 and first documented in 1195. In about 1310, the cathedral was rebuilt in a Gothic style and was completed in approximately 1418. The bronze lion-head door handles, the oldest work of art of Hamburg, date from the foundation of the tower in 1342.

A second tower, built in 1516, towered above even the Hamburg Cathedral. Decay caused it to be torn down between 1804 and 1807, after it had been used by Napoleonic soldiers as a horse stable. The building fell victim to the great fire that swept Hamburg in May 1842. Most works of art, such as the lion-head door handles, were saved.

Only seven years after the great fire, the Gothic church was rebuilt by architects Alexis de Chateauneuf and Hermann Felsenfest in its previous location. In 1878, the 132 meter high cathedral tower was finished. The church got through the Second World War relatively intact. In 1962, as a nearby community center was being built, the foundations of a medieval tower, the Bischofsturm ('Bishop's Tower') were discovered.

The best known artworks in St Peter's are the lion-head door handles, located in the left wing of the west portal. However, the cathedral contains many additional works of art.

In the north portion of the cathedral, a Gothic mural from approximately 1460 shows the first bishop Ansgar of Bremen. A column in the choir area contains a statue by Bernt Notke, from around 1480-1483, showing Archbishop Ansgar and the Hamburg Marienkirche, which he founded.

From the 17th century, there are two oil paintings by Gottfried Libalt: Jacob's Dream and Christ's Birth.

The painting Christmas 1813 in St. Peter's is on a column in the south part of the cathedral. It shows the Hamburg citizens who, when they did not provide food to Napoleon's occupying troops, were locked in the church by the soldiers. In the front of the cathedral are neo-Gothic representations of the evangelists. A modern bronze sculpture by Fritz Fleer shows Dietrich Bonhoeffer dressed as a convict with his hands bound.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1189
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

gogu nisip (20 months ago)
Nice architecture, really big church in the middle of the city.
Ramona Duma (20 months ago)
Impressive architecture.Can climb to sightseeing the city from more than 240 meters..the highest point you can climb here in Hamburg
muneer prins (20 months ago)
German churches have some of the best architecture.
Master iOqY (2 years ago)
It's the oldest church in Hamburg and unique in that it's still called 'St. Peters' even though it is a protestant church now as its Lutheran. Built as a catholic cathedral initially then eventually converted to Lutheran after the Reformation by Germany's own Martin Luther. It is a massive structure done in the Gothic style so very heavy looking and imposing. The inside though is plain and light allowing the worshipper to focus on the Word as Martin Luther intended. Free to get but donation accepted. There are free washrooms, even a small cafe inside.
Steve Hooper (2 years ago)
Really tall church spire with 577 steps to the top. You never get outside, but it gets more and more narrow until the top is about 3m X 3m and through the portholes you can see ALL of Hamburg. Have to say, the spire isn't the most architecturally interesting bit of the church as you are inside a massive climbing frame for the most part. But those great views are available nowhere else. Open when the shop is open, and 3EUR each. Don't forget it's 577 steps down as well.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Saint Sophia Cathedral

The St Sophia's Cathedral was built between 1045-1050 inside the Novgorod Kremlin (fortress). It is one of the earliest stone structures of northern Russia. Its height is 38 m. Originally it was taller, for during the past nine centuries the lower part of the building became concealed by the two-metre thick cultural layer. The cathedral was built by Prince Vladimir, the son of Yaroslav the Wise, and until the 1130s this principal church of the city also served as the sepulchre of Novgorodian princes. For the Novgorodians, St Sophia became synonymous with their town, the symbol of civic power and independence.

The five-domed church looks simpler but no less impressive than its prototype, the thirteen-domed St Sophia of Kiev. The cathedral exterior is striking in its majesty and epic splendour evoking the memories of Novgorod's glorious past and invincible might. In the 11th century it looked more imposing than now. Its facade represented a gigantic mosaic of huge, coarsely trimmed irregular slabs of flagstone and shell rock. In some places (particularly on the apses), the wall was covered with mortar, smoothly polished, drawn up to imitate courses of brick or of whitestone slabs, and slightly coloured. As a result, the facade was not white, as it is today, but multicoloured. The play of stone, decorative painting and the building materials of various texture enhanced the impression of austere simplicity and introduced a picturesque effect.

The two-storied galleries extend along the building's southern, western and northern sides, with a stair-tower constructed at the north-eastern corner. The cathedral has three entrances - the southern, western and northern, of which the western was the main one intended for ceremonial processions. A gate standing at the entrance is known as the Sigtuna Gate (mid-12th century); according to legend, it was brought from the Swedish town of Sigtuna in 1187. The second name of the gate derives from the town of Magdeburg, where it was made. The two leaves are decorated with biblical and evangelical scenes in cast bronze relief. In the lower left corner there are portraits of the craftsmen who created this superb specimen of medieval Western European bronze-work. An inscription in Latin gives their names, Riquin and Weissmut. The small central figure - judging from an inscription in Slavonic - is a representation of the Russian master craftsman Avraam, who assembled the gate.

There is yet another bronze gate in the cathedral, called the Korsun Gate. Made in the 11th century in Chersonesos, Byzantium, it leads from the southern gallery into the Nativity Side-Chapel. Legend has it that the gate was handed over to Novgorod as a gift of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (c. 978 - 1054).

The interior of the cathedral is as majestic as its exterior. It is divided by huge piers into five aisles, three of which end in altar apses. In the south-western corner, inside the tower, there is a wide spiral in relatively small, modest buildings of the 12th - 16th centuries.