Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


9.12.08
  Chapter Church Quedlinburg

The old town of Quedlinburg is dominated by the Chapter Church St. Servatius (also refered to as Quedlinburg Cathedral) on the Castle Hill. There's no exterior shot except the one on the post about the town because of the scaffolding, but I got some nice interior ones.

Main nave, view to the choir

The hill had been the site of a palatine castle and a chapel when Mathilde, widow of Heinrich I, commissioned the building of a chapter church to replace the smaller chapel where her husband lay entombed. It took from 997 to 1021 for the church to be finished, and after a fire part of it had to be rebuilt. The present church was consecrated in 1129, in presence of King Lothar of Süpplingenburg, the later Emperor and founder of Königslutter Cathedral.

View towards the north aisle

The Romanesque interior shows the so called Niedersächsischer Stützenwechsel (Lower Saxonian Pillar Alternation) with rows of two slender pillars, one square column, two pillars again, one column. The pillars divide the main nave from the lower aisles (basilica style). The west wall holds the Imperial Lodge behind the upper row of interior windows (see post about town) which was proabably used not only by the Emperors during their visits to Quedlinburg but also by the abbesses and ladies of the chapter.

An example of the Stützenwechsel

The choir to the east was rebuilt in the Gothic style under the Abbess Jutta von Kranichfeld in 1320. In 1938 an attempt was made to restore the Romanesque interior by adding an apsis wall to the choir. It is a high choir (like in Lippoldsberg) since the crypt is not built into a cellar but on one base with the nave, though using lower vaults - in case of Quedlinburg I suppose the sandstone bedrock was the reason.

Crypt

The crypt is undergoing renovation so I could only get a sneak photo through the iron grilled door. I think the two tomb plates in the background are the ones of Heinrich I and Mathilda.

There is also a relief frieze running around the entire main nave. This as well as the decorations on the pillar capitals and the window frames show a strong Lombardian influence; much the same as Königslutter Cathedral. The ceiling is not a cross grain vault but the older timber cassette structure.

View to south aisle - you can see the frieze under the upper windows

The transept has very short wings with separate rooms that today are used to display the famous Domschatz (Cathedral Treasure) parts of which have been given back from the US. Because of the dim light it was almost impossible to get photos, though, and I don't use flash near objects that may react badly to stark light.

Room in the transept with treasure exhibition

During a restoration under Ferdinand von Quast in 1882 two 'Romanesque' towers with the wrong sort of gables were added, so that the most outstanding feature of the church is actually the youngest. I hope they use the ongoing renovation as chance to replace those roofs with something more authentic looking.
 
Comments:
More great photos, Gabriele. I liked the one of the crypt.
 
Evocative.
 
I don't think I've seen the alternating round pillars/square columns before. Is it unusual?
 
Thank you, Shelley and Stag.

Carla, alternating pillars and columns are a more common feature of German Romanesque buildings than the 2:1 of the Saxon Pillar Alternation, but since I live in Lower Saxony, I've seen it quite a lot. :)
 
Nice pics!
 
Gabriele

Nice pictures. I like your architecture commentary
 
Thank you, Lady D and Hank.
 
As always great photos and equally interesting history, Gabriele. I love coming here to feel the antiquity.
 
Beautiful pictures as usual. I never get tired of it! Keep it up! :)
 
Thank you, Barbara and Meghan.
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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Location: Germany

I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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