The Lost Fort

My Travel and History Blog, Focussing mostly on Roman and Mediaeval Times


30 Dec 2020
  A Piece of Norway in the Harz – the Stave Church in Hahnenklee

It's not exactly a sight you'll expect when driving or hiking in the Harz area, but there it is.
The Stave Church in Hahnenklee

This Scandinavian looking stave church is located in the outskirts of Hahnenklee, a borough of Goslar. Hahnenklee became popular as spa town in the 19th century, so that a larger church was needed for the visitors to be able to attend service; the parish church had become too small.
The church seen from the south-east

The church was designed by Karl Mohrmann (1857-1927), an architect and university teacher, later headmaster of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hannover, and architect of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Hannover. Prior to these occupations he had been a teacher for architecture in Riga and did a lot of traveling in Scandinavia and the UK; but also Africa and the US.
The belfry

Mohrmann was a representative of the historicist school which started in the 1850ies and imitated old styles of architecture, painting and such. The Neo-Romanesque and Neo-Gothic with its extra turrets and oriels are typical for that style (like the Neo-Romanesque palace in Schwerin which mixes some Classicist elements into the overdecorated fun).
The church seen from the north

In that context, it comes as no surprise that Mohrman would take his inspiration from Mediaeval stave churches in Norway, in particular the one in Borgund which he had seen in person. It dates to the 12th century though it had been enlarged during the Middle Ages. Mohrmann considerably expanded his model; the average stave church would allow room for some 50 parishioners, the one in Hahnenklee can seat 240 and accomodate 350 people.
And from the south

The German empeor Wilhelm II was fond of Norway and spent several holidays there, mostly traveling the fjords with his yacht. He also donated to the rebuilding of the town of Ålesund which was destroyed by a fire in January 1904. His interest in Norway and in history overall created a bit of a fashion which may have played into the idea to use a stave church as model.
One of the doors

The church is officially called Gustav Adolf Stave Church. I suppose it's named for King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden, of Thirty Years fame (who led a Protestant amry into Germany and fell at the Battle of Lützen in 1632). Construction of the church began in 1907; the consecration was held on June 28, 1908.
Details of ornaments

The short period of only ten months was mostly due to the material used. At first, the plans had been for a brick construction in the Neo-Gothic style, but when the plans were changed into the imitation of a stave church, locally harvested spruce trunks were used which sped up the process and were cheaper as well.
The interior of the stave church, view to the altar

Mohrmann thought that stave churches had once been common in Germany as well, and thus the one in Hahnenklee a genuine revival of the ancient architecture of the country. He was wrong, of course, stave churches stand in a different cultural context than the churches built in Germany after the Christianisation. There are no archaeological finds that point at the specific stave style ever to have been used here.
Interior, the other side

The windows are larger than in the traditional stave churches, thus allowing more light to stream into the interior – which, as said above, is larger than most stave churches in the first place. The Gustav Adolf church is more like a grand hall when you enter it.
The gallery

The style takes up elements of the Scandinavian stave churches like the carved dragon and snake ornaments and other elements inspired by viking ships (like the shape of the roofs that look like Viking ships turned upside down), and a number of 'Norse' ornaments and carvings in the interior of the church.
Detail of the gallery

The great chandelier at the ceiling is inspired by a ship's steering wheel – which was not in use on Viking ships that had a rudder. But it's quite impressive.
The great chandelier

Another nautic feature that is definitely not Mediaeval Scandinavian are the bullseye windows on the gallery.
View to the bullseye windows above the gallery

In other decorative elements – carvings and paintings – the style gets mixed up with Art Nouveau designs and inspirations from the Byzantine mosaic art (see also the altar below with the 'Byzantine' figures), according to the fashion of the early 20th century when the Art Nouvau became popular.
The chancel

And below we get a bird of prey inspired by the Norse carvings at the foot of the chancel.
Detail of the chancel ornaments

The church has been constructed in the traditional way without nails and screws. All main elements like planks, boards, poles have been set up vertically. That too, is the traditonal way that gives those churches their name: stave churches (from Old Norse stafr).
Closeup of the altar

The church in Hahnenklee has an organ and a carillon, a set of tuned bells that are played with a keyboard and pedals that set int motion levers and wires attached to the bells. The first smaller carillon (1975) was situated in the roof turret, but moved to the belfry in 2002 and expanded to a total of 49 bells encompassing a range of four octaves.
Another view of the interior

The church has been renovated several times; the last one took place in 2000 - 2006. The church is still used for services and weddings and remains a popular tourist destination. I was lucky that there were not many people around when I visited in early March some years ago.
Harz landscape near Hahnenklee in late winter

And now I wish everyone a Happy New Year!
 


20 Dec 2020
  A Holy Rock – The Klusfelsen in Goslar

The Klusfelsen rock formation is a little known landmark in Goslar, usually relegated to the footnotes in travel guide books. After some initial signposts, I had to ask the locals for directions to get there. And then, passing a small path between some suburban houses, a meadow opened and on its farther edge I found this.
The Klus Rock in the evening sun

The Klusfelsen (Klus Rock) is a sandstone rock of about 20 metres height and 50 metres length, dating to the Lower Cretaceous 110 million years ago. The area had been a shallow sea at that time, the result of an inflow of sea water into the Norddeutsche Tiefebene . When the Harz mountains rose during the following Saxon Orogeny, those sandstone layers were pushed into a vertical position (about the geology of the northern Harz see also this post).
The rock seen from the north

The coastline of that shallow sea was only a few miles south of the present day rock formations which include not only the Klus Rock but several other formations in the northern Harz foothills all the way to the Teufelsmauer (Devil's Wall) near Quedlinburg in the east. Along the fault line of the Saxon orogeny in the northern Harz, the lithologic sequence of rocks have been brought to the surface in a mostly vertical or semi-vertical position: the older Triassic buntsandstein, musselkalk and keuper as well as the younger Cretaceous sandstone.
View to the upper part of the rock

The sandstone is a rather coarse and porous variant, originally of a yellow shade, but now more brownish due to weathering - though it still looks more a soft orange in the evening sun. The rock formation also contains several caves of various size washed out of the material. The sandstone is kown as Hils sandstone after a former quarry. That sandstone layer can be as thick as a hundred metres in some places. The stone has been used in construction, esp. for elements that included decorative carvings, during the Middle Ages.
The way up and the bridge

Rocks in such an elevated position and including caves, like the Klus Rock, may indeed have been used as places of worship, for ritual purposes, tribal gatherings and such, but I could not find sufficient proof for a Megalithic cult centre at the Klus Rock that is mentioned online. There is a man made niche in the base of the wall, but if it indeed contained images of pagan deities that were destroyed by Christian missionaries cannot be proven, either.
Halfway to the chapel grotto and the terrace

What we do know is that the rock has been used as hermitage that included a chapel dedicated to St.Mary since at least 1167 (for the dating see also below; though I stick with this date). That hermitage gave its name to the rock: Dialectal Klus, high German Klause means a hermit's abode.
View to the rock with the niche at its base

The hermit – who also took care of the chapel – lived in the cave at the rock base close to the above mentioned niche. The use of that cave predates the establishment of the chapel in the smaller cave in the upper part of the rock, though how far back its use dates is difficult to tell, since both caves have been altered by man in the Middle Ages.
Entrance of the chapel

The chapel in the upper grotto is protected by a locked grille (to prevent people from using the site for parties and leaving the trash behind), but I was lucky to meet a gentleman who had a key to the door and openend the little cave for me, so I could photograph the altar dedicated to St.Mary.
Altar of St.Mary in the chapel grotto

Not far from the rock once stood the chapter church St.Peter, dating to ~1050; a foundation of Agnes of Poitou (1025-1077, daughter of Guillaume V of Aquitaine), second wife of the emperor Heinrich III and mother of Heinrich IV, acting as her son's regent from 1056 to 1062. The church was completely destroyed in 1527.
The chapel windows with signs of masonry

It is unclear whether Agnes used the chapel prior to the building of the church. It would predate the other first official mention of the existence of the chapel in a charte from 1167 which I could find. Agnes was known for her piety, but she had a chapel in the palatine seat, so there was not good motive why she should climb a rock (it had no stairs then) to pray – though she may have done so for exactly for that reason.
Entrance to the chapel from a different angle

The chapel was in use until the Reformation, though the hermitage had been abandoned earlier. Afterwards the chapel served as dwelling place. In the early 19th century it was restored as chapel with an alter dedicated to St.Mary in the wake of the Romanticistic revival, but fell in disuse again in the 1960ies. The chapel was renovated in 1983.
The terrace in front of the chapel

The cave in the rock base served as the hermit's abode, as mentioned above, and was later used as stable and as storage cellar. There had been an inn named 'Zur Clus' on the meadow in front of the cave since the 19th century, which was demolished in 1968. The innkeeper stored his provisions in the cave – the beer would keep cool there.
The peak ridge

Besides the hermit's cave and the chapel grotto there are several more caves in the rock, some of them connected. They have beeen walled shut during the restoration work done by the Rotay Club in the 1980ies to prevent vandalism.
View to the rock from the south

There are legends and fairy tales connected with the Klus Rock. Unfortunately, I could not find any of those online; I'd have liked to share a story or two with my readers like I did for other such places.
Another view of the Klus Rock

Instead, I'll leave you with another final view of the rock.
 




The Lost Fort is a travel and history blog based on my journeys in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and central / eastern Europe. It includes virtual town and castle tours with a focus on history, museum visits, hiking tours, and essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, illustrated with my own photos.


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I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who still hasn't got an Instagram account.
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Summer Hiking Tours 2016
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Winter at the 'Kiessee' Lake
Winter Wonderland - Views from my Balcony


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Staffa
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Summer Nights in Oban

Wild Wales - With Castles
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Along the Coast of Norway - North of the Polar Circle

Norway by Train
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Wildlife
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Dog Sledding With Huskies
Eagles and Gulls in the Trollfjord


The Baltic Sea

A Baltic Sea Cruise

The Curonian Spit in Lithuania
Beaches at the Curonian Spit
Geology of the Curonian Spit






Roman History
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Mediaeval History
General Essays

By Country
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Other Times
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-
Miscellanea
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Roman History

General Essays

The Romans at War

Forts and Fortifications
Exercise Halls
Mile Castles and Watch Towers
Soldiers' Living Quarters
Cavalry Barracks

Roman Militaria

Armour
Early Imperial Helmets
Late Roman Helmets
The Negau B Helmet

Weapons
Weapon Finds at Hedemünden
The pilum
Daggers
Swords

Other Equipment
Roman Saddles

Life and Religion

Religion
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Isis Worship
Curse Tablets and Good Luck Charms

Public Life
Roman Transport - Barges
Roman Transport - Amphorae and Barrels
Roman Water Supply

Roman villae
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Villa Rustica Wachenheim

Everyday Life
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Children's Toys
Face Pots

Miscellaneous Essays

The Legend of Alaric's Burial


Germania

Wars and Frontiers

Maps
Romans in Germania

Traces of the Pre-Varus Conquest
Roman Camp Hedemünden
New Finds in 2008

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Museum Park at Kalkriese

The Battle at the Harzhorn
Introduction

Along the Limes
The Cavalry Fort Aalen
Limes Fort Osterburken
Limes Fort Saalburg


Gallia Belgica

The Batavians

The Batavian Rebellion
A Short Introduction


Britannia

Roman Frontiers in Britain

The Hadrian's Wall
Introduction
The Fort at Segedunum / Wallsend


Mediaeval History

General Essays

Mediaeval Art and Craft

Mediaeval Art
Carved Monsters
The Choir Screen in the Cathedral of Mainz
The Gospels of Heinrich the Lion
Mediaeval Monster Carvings
The Viking Treasure of Hiddensee

Medieaval Craftmanship
Goldsmithery
Medical Instruments

Mediaeval Warfare

Mediaeval Weapons
Swords
Trebuchets

Castles and Fortifications
Dungeons and Oubliettes

Essays about Specific Topics

Feudalism

The History of Feudalism
The Beginnings
Feudalism in the 10th Century

Privileges and Special Relationships
The Privilege of the deditio
A Note on handgenginn maðr

The Hanseatic League

The History of the Hanseatic League
Introduction and Beginnings

Hanesatic Architecture
Examples of Brick Architecture

Goods and Trade
Stockfish Trade

The Order of the Teutonic Knights

Wars and Battles
The Conquest of Danzig
The Siege of Vilnius 1390

The Vikings

Viking Ships
The Nydam Ship


Germany

Geneaology

List of Mediaeval German Emperors

Geneaologies
Anglo-German Marriage Connections
Heinrich the Lion's Ancestors

Kings and Emperors

The Salian Dynasty
King Heinrich IV

House Welf and House Staufen
Emperor Otto IV, Introduction

Princes and Lords

Princes
Otto the Quarrelsome of Braunschweig-Göttingen
The Dukes of Braunschweig-Grubenhagen
Otto of Northeim
The Ludowing Landgraves of Thuringia
Albrecht II and Friedrich I of Thuringia

Counts and Local Lords
The Marshals of Ebersburg
The Counts of Everstein
The Counts of Hohnstein
The Lords of Plesse
The Counts of Reichenbach
The Counts of Winzenburg

Famous Feuds

Royal Troubles
Otto IV and Bishop Adalbert II of Magdeburg

Local Feuds
The Lüneburg Succession War
The Thuringian Succession War - Introduction
The Star Wars


England

Kings of England

King Henry IV
King Henry's Lithuanian Crusade

Normans, Britons, Angevins

Great Fiefs - The Honour of Richmond
The Dukes of Brittany and the Honour of Richmond
The Earldom of Richmond and the Duchy of Brittany

Contested Borders

Northumbria
King Stephen's Troubles with King David of Scots


Scotland

Kings of Scots

House Dunkeld
Malcolm III and Northumbria
Struggle for the Throne: Malcolm III to David I
King David and the Civil War, Part 1
King David and the Civil War, Part 2

Houses Bruce and Stewart
Robert the Bruce and Stirling Castle
The Early Stewart Kings

Scottish Nobles and their Quarrels

Clan Feuds
MacLeans and MacDonalds
A Scottish Wedding


Wales

Welsh Princes

The Princes of Gwynedd
The Rise of House Aberffraw

Rebels

A History of Rebellion
From Llywellyn ap Gruffudd to Owain Glyn Dŵr


Denmark

Kings of Denmark

House of Knýtlinga
Harald Bluetooth's Flight to Pomerania

Danish Rule in the Baltic Sea

The Duchy of Estonia
Danish Kings and German Sword Brothers


Norway

Kings of Norway

Foreign Relations
King Eirik's Scottish Marriages
King Håkon V's Swedish Politics
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union

A Time of Feuds

Famous Nobles and their Feuds
Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg


Sweden

Troubles and Alliances

Scandinavian Unity
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union


Livonia
(Latvia and Estonia)

Towns of the Hanseatic League

Riga
The History of Mediaeval Riga

Tallinn
The History of Mediaeval Tallinn


Lithuania

The Northern Crusades

The Wars in Lithuania
The Siege of Vilnius 1390

Lithuanian Princes

The Geminid Dynasty
Troublesome Cousins - Jogaila and Vytautas


Poland

The Northern Crusades

The Conquest of Pomerania / Prussia
The Conquest of Danzig

Royal Dynasties

The Jagiełłonian Kings
Władysław Jagiełło and the Polish-Lithuanian Union


Bohemia

Royal Dynasties

The Bohemian Kings of House Luxembourg
King Sigismund and the Hussite Wars


Other Times

Prehistoric Times

Germany

Neolithic Remains
Stone Burials of the Funnelbeaker Culture

Development of Civilisation
European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
Hutewald Project in the Solling
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

Scotland

Neolithic Orkney
The Neolithic Landscape of Orkney
Ring of Brodgar
Skara Brae
Life in Skara Brae

Bronze Age / Iron Age
Clava Cairns
The Brochs of Gurness and Midhowe - Their Function in Iron Age Society

Scandinavia

Gotland
The Ship Setting of Gnisvärd


Post-Mediaeval History

Explorers and Discoveries

Explorers
Fram Expedition to the North Pole
Fram Expedition to the South Pole

Discoveries
Otto von Guericke and the Magdeburg Hemispheres
Raising a Wreck, Now and Then (Vasa Museum in Stockholm)

Biographies

European Nobility
Prince Wilhelm Malte of Putbus


Miscellanea

History in Literature and Music

History and Literature

The Weimar Classicism
The Weimar Classicism - Introduction

Historical Ballads by Theodor Fontane
Short Biography of Theodor Fontane
(Some of Fontane's Ballads, translated by me)
Archibald Douglas
Gorm Grymme
Sir Walter Scott in Abbotsford
The Tragedy of Afghanistan

History in Opera

Belcanto and Historicism
Maria Padilla - Mistress Royal
The Siege of Calais in Donizetti's Opera

Not so Serious History

Romans
Building Hadrian's Wall
Playmobil Romans

Mediaeval Times
Kings Having a Bad Hair Day
The Case of the Vanished Wine Cask

Other
Rules for Writing Scottish Romances
Tourist Kitsch in St.Petersburg


Geology

Geological Landscapes

The Baltic Sea
Geology of the Curonian Spit
Chalk Cliffs on Rugia
Flint Fields on Rugia

The Harz
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
Buntsandstein Formations in the Northern Harz
The 'Hübichenstein' Rock
Karst Formations in the Southern Harz
The Lonau Falls
The Rhume Springs

Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
Blue Dome near Eschwege
Diabase and Basalt Formations
Karst Formations
Salt Springs at the Werra

Solling-Vogler
Raised Bog Mecklenbruch
Hannover Cliffs

The Shores of Scotland
Staffa

Fossils and Other Odd Rocks

Fossilized Ammonites
The Loket Meteorite


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