Paderborn Cathedral

Paderborn, Germany

Paderborn Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Mary, Saint Kilian and Saint Liborius. Today's cathedral is located in a position that has been occupied by churches for hundreds of years. Charlemagne had a Kaiserpfalz built near the sources of the Pader river. As early as 777 this palace had an attached church. This church, located north of today's cathedral, served as chapel to the court as well as a basis for missionary work among the Pagan Saxons. Rebellious Saxons repeatedly destroyed this first church. After the locals converted to Christianity, the first cathedral was built. Pope Leo III met Charlemagne at Paderborn in 799 and consecrated an altar to Saint Stephen, depositing some relics of that saint in it. The first cathedral of the newly established bishopric was a three-aisled basilica.

A fire destroyed the first cathedral in 1000 AD. Bishop Rethar began with rebuilding, but his successor Meinwerk had the previous work destroyed and started over, building a three-aisled church with a transept and crypt in the east. This (second) cathedral was consecrated in 1015, but destroyed in a city fire in 1058. Meinwerk's nephew, Imad had the cathedral rebuilt on a significantly larger scale (third cathedral). This building, with two transepts, already was very similar to today's cathederal. Today's crypt was built around 1100 AD. Similarly, a chapel to St. Bartholomew, connected to the cathedral, would be built after 1015 by Greek monks. Another fire in 1133 damaged the church, but its core survived. Bernhard I. von Oesede had the building strengthened and extended (fourth cathedral), it was reconsecrated in 1144/45.

In the 13th century, the cathedral was reconstructed, not due to damage but to bring it up to then current artistic and ecclesial standards. Construction likely began at the western end of the building (late Romanesque basilika, before 1220). The nave followed in the form of a hall church in early Gothic style. It was completed in the late 13th century with High Gothic elements.

In the 17th century, Prince-Bishops Dietrich Adolf von der Recke (1601-1661) and Ferdinand von Fürstenberg (1626–1683) replaced the Gothic interior features with Baroque artworks.

Repeated Allied bombing of Paderborn in 1945 resulted in severe damage to the cathedral and the loss of irreplaceable works of art, including all the historic glass windows. On 22 March 1945, fourteen people were killed by a blockbuster bomb in the cloister. Reconstruction took until the 1950s. From 1978-81, a major restoration was undertaken.

The relics of Saint Liborius are kept in the three-aisled crypt, which is one of Germany's largest crypts. Towards the west are the tombs of the Archbishops of Paderborn.

One of the cathedral's, and the city's, most recognisable features is the Dreihasenfenster ('Window of Three Hares'). It depicts three hares in motion, arranged in a triangle. Each hare is shown as having two ears, although only three ears are visible in total. The original 16th century carving can be found in the cloister's inner courtyard, and has been duplicated on numerous buildings and a number of shops throughout the city centre.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1100-1145
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Salian Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sheryl Fredricks (15 months ago)
This is a beautiful cathedral. The Stations of the Cross are beautifully unique and a must see,. You can feel the history and peace in and around this holy landmark. It is worth a walk through and around.
Heansuh Lee (16 months ago)
It's very well-preserved inside
Patrick Brinkmann (17 months ago)
This Dom is a big one. Paderborns finest.
Mihail Popazu (17 months ago)
Great ecclesiastical and cultural monument in Paderborn city.
Dave1984 UK (17 months ago)
Fantastic. Was under reconstruction, but amazing inside.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Cochem Castle

The original Cochem Castle, perched prominently on a hill above the Moselle River, served to collect tolls from passing ships. Modern research dates its origins to around 1100. Before its destruction by the French in 1689, the castle had a long and fascinating history. It changed hands numerous times and, like most castles, also changed its form over the centuries.

In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should inherit Cochem Castle by laying siege to it and taking possession of it himself. That same year it became an official Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) subject to imperial authority. In 1282 it was Habsburg King Rudolf’s turn, when he conquered the Reichsburg Cochem and took it over. But just 12 years later, in 1294, the newest owner, King Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle, the town of Cochem and the surrounding region in order to finance his coronation. Adolf’s successor, Albrecht I, was unable to redeem the pledge and was forced to grant the castle to the archbishop in nearby Trier and the Electorate of Trier, which then administered the Reichsburg continuously, except for a brief interruption when Trier’s Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg had to pawn the castle to a countess. But he got it back a year later.

The Electorate of Trier and its nobility became wealthy and powerful in large part due to the income from Cochem Castle and the rights to shipping tolls on the Moselle. Not until 1419 did the castle and its tolls come under the administration of civil bailiffs (Amtsmänner). While under the control of the bishops and electors in Trier from the 14th to the 16th century, the castle was expanded several times.

In 1688 the French invaded the Rhine and Moselle regions of the Palatinate, which included Cochem and its castle. French troops conquered the Reichsburg and then laid waste not only to the castle but also to Cochem and most of the other surrounding towns in a scorched-earth campaign. Between that time and the Congress of Vienna, the Palatinate and Cochem went back and forth between France and Prussia. In 1815 the western Palatinate and Cochem finally became part of Prussia once and for all.

Louis Jacques Ravené (1823-1879) did not live to see the completion of his renovated castle, but it was completed by his son Louis Auguste Ravené (1866-1944). Louis Auguste was only two years old when construction work at the old ruins above Cochem began in 1868, but most of the new castle took shape from 1874 to 1877, based on designs by Berlin architects. After the death of his father in 1879, Louis Auguste supervised the final stages of construction, mostly involving work on the castle’s interior. The castle was finally completed in 1890. Louis Auguste, like his father, a lover of art, filled the castle with an extensive art collection, most of which was lost during the Second World War.

In 1942, during the Nazi years, Ravené was forced to sell the family castle to the Prussian Ministry of Justice, which turned it into a law school run by the Nazi government. Following the end of the war, the castle became the property of the new state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). In 1978 the city of Cochem bought the castle for 664,000 marks.