St. Catherine's Church

Hamburg, Germany

St. Catherine's Church is one of the five principal Lutheran churches of Hamburg. The base of its spire, dating from the 13th century, is the second oldest building preserved in the city, after the lighthouse on Neuwerk island. It is situated on an island near what was formerly the southern boundary of the medieval city, opposite the historic harbour area on the Elbe river. It traditionally served as the church of the seamen.

The earliest attestation to the existence of the church dates back to 1256. The main body, consisting of a triple nave, was rebuilt during the mid-15th century in the north German Brick Gothic style. In 1657 a Baroque rooftop was added to the spire, which thus reached a height of 115 meters. The church was heavily damaged in an air-raid during World War II, on 30 July 1943. It left only the outer walls and the base of the spire standing. The building was restored between 1950 and 1957.

St. Catherine's had an organ as early as the late 15th century, and by the 16th century it was considered the most important in Hamburg. This organ was replaced by a new organ built by Hans Stellwagen, rebuilt in 1670 and repaired by Johann Friederich Besser. In 1720, according to Johann Mattheson, this organ consisted of some 58 stops and approximately 88 ranks which may have made it the largest organ in the world at that time.



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Founded: 1256
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Habsburg Dynasty (Germany)

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Gaijin (6 years ago)
Traditionally serving as a church for seamen, St Catherine is the second oldest surviving building in Hamburg. Dating back to at least 1256, it was extensively remodeled in the mid-15th Century. Severely damaged during a July 1943 air raid it was repaired 1950~57. St Catherine has 6 bells. Five of them are in use, including a bell from 1626 (Gloriaglocke). The damaged hour bell of 1454 is exhibited in the tower hall. When I visited in 2018, it was exhibiting some beautiful contemporary artworks. I understand these are changed on a regular basis - I am sure there will be equally stunning displays when you visit.
Oscar Herencia (6 years ago)
Lovely church
ibrahim Hassan (6 years ago)
A very peaceful church. It has some ready nice and abstract artwork and some great medieval statutes portrait ing the Christ and some other saints. The stained glass window in the front is very beautiful during the daytime. Above the main entrance there's a stage adorned with a huge golden orchestra, only accessible to choirs though.
Mario Poceski (6 years ago)
Nice church for Mass and concert
Sergii Pavlenko (7 years ago)
Worth a visit if your in the centre of Hamburg - very welcoming - interesting architecture - the building is easily accessible and you can walk completely around the outside, so getting up close to look at the construction.
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