The most amazing churches in Germany
Whatever your religious persuasion or level of interest, churches are often worth seeing as pieces of art on the inside, and architecture on the outside. This is certainly the case in Germany, where strong religious traditions and many similar sized-towns have helped impressive churches and cathedrals become a fixture across the country.
Whether you’re holidaying in Hamburg or doing business in Berlin, it takes just a few minutes to step into a church and experience the beauty and serenity inside. Of the hundreds worth exploring, here are the Flexicover team favourite five.
Ulm Minster, Ulm
The city of Ulm, in south Germany, boasts the tallest church in the world with a spire that reaches 531 feet, allowing it to be seen from far and wide. The rest of the church is just as magnificent: laboriously created and improved over the course of 600 years, and untouched from the two world wars despite the bombing in the areas around it, it’s an A-grade example of Gothic architecture. Visitors can take a pew and admire its interiors, or brave the 768 steps up to the observation platform for sweeping views of the Alps and Germany’s highest peak, the Zugspitze.
Cologne Cathedral, Cologne
Just four metres shy of Ulm’s record-holding height, Cologne Cathedral is an impressive sight and its twin spires are a key part of the city’s skyline. Come closer, and the first thing visitors will note is that it’s huge: nearly 8,000 square metres, which is enough to hold 20,000 people. Its size reflects its importance. Built in 1248 but completed in 1880, it was created to house relics of the Three Kings (otherwise known as the Three Wise Men), which is why it it’s currently Germany’s most-visited landmark. Decorated by stained-glass murals and emanating a sense of peace, it’s a cathedral not to be missed.
On the foothills of the Bavarian Alps is a picturesque church that holds a great deal of religious significance: in 1730, a farmer there witnessed his statue of Christ shedding tears. After that, pilgrims came in such high numbers (many claiming further miracles) that a new church was commissioned to display it. And so we have Wieskirche, whose baroque exterior blends in with its rustic surroundings, yet inside is an opulent example of Rococo elegance, with gilded fringes, imposing pillars and a pastel ceiling fresco depicting Christ’s resurrection. Nowadays, one million visitors come to see both the church and the site of the miracle.
Munich isn’t short of an amazing church or two with Frauenkirche, Church of St Peter and the baroque Theatiner Church in its midst. But don’t miss Asamkirche, a few minutes from the centre of Marienplatz and in the heart of Munich’s old town. Built in the 1700s, this small church is not shy about its opulence. Its gilded exterior is beautifully detailed, made all the more striking because it neighbours everyday buildings. Inside, every square inch is made as superb as possible with a mix of carved wood, painting and gold finery, resulting in an overwhelming feast for the eyes.
St Nicholas Church, Leipzig
Sometimes a church’s beauty isn’t only found in its impressive architecture or interior decoration; its place in history also helps create a strong atmosphere, which is the case with Leipzig’s St Nicholas Church. The building itself borrows elements of baroque, gothic, neoclassical and Roman-style design to create a unique look. It was also the place where the Monday demonstrations began in 1989 that spread across Germany and led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. This process is replicated with lights on the ground outside the church: over the course of the evening, a few turn on before more and more burn brighter. It’s truly a sight to behold.
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