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


29.9.12
  There Were Churches, Too

A jewel on the Romanesque Road is the monastery of Memleben. Albeit only ruins remain, it is indeed a pretty place to visit, especially in sunshine. There most likely was a palatine seat during Ottonian times since both King Heinrich I and Emperor Otto the Great died in Memleben, but no traces have yet been found. Though it's not easy to catch those early places because most of it was built of timber. There was a large church in the 10th century of which only a few bits of wall remain.

Memleben, remains of the main nave of the 13th century church

The other and somewhat better preserved Romanesque church dates to the 13th century. It fell into decline after the Reformation but the remains still give an impression of the former beauty of the church. The crypt has also been preserved.

Memleben, the crypt

The most famous church this time around was the cathedral in Naumburg. There had been an older church but when Naumburg became the seat of a bishop, a larger church was needed. It was built on base of the older one and started out as late Romanesque (1210) in the east choir to progress to early Gothic in the west choir (about 1250).

Naumburg cathedral, the Romanesque east towers seen through the cloister

The west choir was built by the Master of Naumburg, architect and sculpturer. We've met one of his works in Mainz. The feature for which the cathedral is famous are the donator figures, a number of historical persons sculpted in stone with an amazing life-likeness of expression. You can detect them in the niches between the windows (see photo below) but of course, I got closeups of them, too.

Interior, view to the west choir and the choir screen

Usually, that place in the choir was reserved for ecclesiastical portraits, apostles, saints, maybe bishops, so to put lay persons there was very unusual. There's a theory that the statues may have replaced the tombs from the older church and thus gave the founders / donators a place of worship back.

The choir screen is a work of the Master of Naumburg as well.

West chor with the donator figures (Stifterfiguren) and Gothic windows

The last church in the collection is another Romanesque / Gothic hybrid. The monastery of Pforta, also known as Schulpforta, was a filial foundation of the Cistercian monastery in Walkenried, and like that one, has a double-arched cloister. The monastery served as boarding school (it still does) after the secularisation and thus survived.

Schulpforta Monastery, double cloister

So lots of Romanesque but no Romans. I hope my readers from that time excuse my lack of Roman posts lately. Aelius Rufus is already complaining about the long hiatus and even got out of his bath to tell me.

 
Comments:
Love the views of Romanesque churches. Thanks for sharing!
 
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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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