Saturday, June 11, 2016

A little church in Germany - Open Post

By Patrick

Dear readers, I decided to write another post with photos and interesting information from good old Germany. Of course, I could write again about Donald and the funny bunch, or about Bristol and Dakota (may they live in happiness forever), but seriously, you are following the news just like I am, and is there really much more to say at this point about Donny "small hands" Trump? Probably not.

There is also not much to report about other issues which might move the USA, like the gun problem (still unresolved, and nobody does anything about it), a health care system which can still bring seriously ill patients to the brink of bankruptcy, (still unresolved), a political system which strongly favours corrupt politicians (still unresolved), and so on. I really don't want to be sound arrogant, and I would like to stress again that every country has problems. However, it is the seriousness and magnitude of the individual problems which can be very different indeed.

Anyway, Donald Trump is taking a serious "dip" in the polls, so I would say that we can pretty much forget about him at this point. Hillary has won the nomination, as God intended (LOL), and it seems highly unlikely at this point that Donald Trump has a real chance to win the general election. Especially after the major brawl which I expect will happen at the GOP convention!

So I would like to present to you photos and information about a little church in Germany. What, a little church in Germany??? Yes, the church is tiny indeed, however, there is no other church like this in Germany, and I presume that it will be very difficult to find a similar church in the whole of Europe.

The old world is of course full of ancient history, and quite often, you can do real "time travels" over here in Europe. However, you do not necessarily need go to Rome or Venice in order to experience ancient history. You can do a little "time travel" in Germany sometimes as well.

During our travels through Germany, Kathleen and I visited Idensen, a tiny village close to Hanover in Northern Germany. This village also has this tiny church pictured above. The church is called the "Sigwardskirche." But it is much more than just a tiny church!

In the 12th century, the Bishop of Minden, called Sigward, decided to build himself a private church, which was also designed to be his burial church. In execution of this plan, the Sigwardskirche in Idensen was being erected, from 1129 - 1134. This is of course nearly 900 years ago, and there are not many churches from these days which did survive unscathed, either due to destruction, or due to major changes during the next centuries.

However, in Idensen, a little miracle happened:

Not only did the structure of this church, built in the classic romanic style, survive with virtually no changes. This in itself would probably not worth a post, however, there is something else: By pure coincidence it was discovered in 1858 that the original medieval paintings were hidden until a thick layer of white paint, which was applied around the year 1500. A significant part of these original paintings from around 1130 could be recovered, and this provides us with an unique and totally enchanting example of a "very special" medieval church which has been preserved beautifully. Visiting this church is a terrific experience, as the beauty of the paintings, as well as the small building itself, is simply stunning.

The walls are filled with paintings of biblical scenes, and while not everything could be recovered, there are still enough pieces left to give the visitor a very good impression of what the church originally looked like around 1130.

The fact that these paintings survived is a miracle indeed. Just as an example: One of the most famous examples of medieval architecture in Germany is the Palatine Chapel in Aachen, built from 792-805. While the Palatine Chapel is even older than the Sigwardskirche, the original interior did not survive: Originally, the Palatine Chapel was also decorated with frescos, however, these have been long long replaced by mosaics and stuccos (in fact, several times). The Sigwardskirche in Idensen appears like a little "time capsule" in comparison with the original frescos still partially preserved.

Link to the website of the church which also has an English page.

Click on the right pcitures to enlarge (I recommend a right mouse click and "open in new tab"):

The original door of the church from around 1130 has also been preserved and is now kept inside:

The stone staircase to the private chapel of the Bishop - you can see that these steps have been used since almost 900 years:

The private chapel upstairs- on the right there is a classic feature of medieval romanic architecture, the so-called "rose window", which represents the four evangelists, with Jesus Christ in the middle (see here for more details about these windows):

View from the private chapel into the church:

Bonus - Gravestone of an aristocratic couple from 1576:

Another view from the outside:

I hope you enjoyed that!

Have a nice weekend, everybody!



I found a very good new German TV-report about the church, it's well worth watching, despite of the German language:

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