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.



Your name

Website (optional)


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

More Information


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

gogu nisip (17 months ago)
Nice architecture, really big church in the middle of the city.
Ramona Duma (17 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 (17 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

Medieval Walls of Avila

The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.

The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.