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St. Michaelis Church: The Bell That Wouldn't Burn
One of the most interesting places worth visiting in Hamburg is the St. Michaelis Church near the city center, a location which serves almost as a flagship area for an array of Hamburg churches of differing architectures, time periods, and religious denominations. As the most famous Baroque church in Northern Germany, St. Michaelis is the jewel in the crown of all Hamburg churches, with it's church spire (known simply as Der Michel or "The Michael") serving as one of the city's landmarks. Through centuries and even today, the tower of St. Michaelis serves as one of the landfall marks for ships sailing up the Elbe River.
St. Michaelis has one of the unique distinctions of being one of the landmarks of the city that has caught fire nearly 3 times over its history and still lives to tell the tale- though the church has been burned down in 2 fires, then later badly damaged in WW2, the bell and copper bell tower has always remained in tact, surviving lightening strike, a citywide fire, and finally the Allied bombings which virtually destroyed all of Hamburg from 1944-45.
Today, the church functions as a landmark museum and concert hall in addition to actively serving as one of the 5 major churches serving Hamburg's Lutheran community. The church has 5 extraordinary pipe organs for traditional music, is home to many classical performances in the city, and also has special event concerts featuring religious music ranging from classical concertos to Gospel. Be sure to check the website calendar for the latest concerts and ticket prices
The Michael is free to enter (during normal operating hours and church services), but to view the bell tower (with city panorama) and cellar crypts (with history tour nd the crypt of classical composer Carl Emmanuel Bach), the ticket office charges €5 - €7 depending on if you want to see one, the other, or combine both into a package. Entry for children is free under age 5, and otherwise €3,50- €4,50 (ages 6-16). There is am elevator to the top of bell tower, but, for the brave and physically fit, it is also possible to reach it the old fashioned way & walk the centuries-old staircases to the top (!). HAMBURG CARD holders, seniors, students, large groups (10+), or families with 3+ children receive €1 off of entry tickets. Also, take note that the public restroom for the church is outside to the right of the building's main entrance- in a small, adjoining building large enough to accommodate both visiting tourists and those attending activities taking place in the main worship hall--- and it costs 50 cents to use. The church is wheelchair accessible for the sanctuary and restrooms only (the bell tower elevator has 52 steps before you reach it; if you have an attendant to help you over the steps, they receive free entry).
- Historical Travel
The third wellknown spike of Hamburg is a belltower of St. Michaelis church - Micheliskirche in late baroque style. It's heeght is over 130 meters. Seamen who conducted the ships to Hamburg were guided by this belltower earlier.
St. Michaelis, colloquially called Michel , is one of Hamburg's five main Protestant churches (Hauptkirchen) and the most famous church in the city. St. Michaelis is a landmark of the city. It is dedicated to the archangel Michael. A large bronze statue, standing above the portal of the church shows the archangel conquering the devil.
- Historical Travel
"Michel" (Church St. Michaelis)
"Michel" is the short version for "St. Michaelis church", the major Hamburg church dating back to 1647. It is dedicated to archangel St. Michael (hence the name); a statue of the angel in victorious pose over satan can be seen at the main entrance. The interior is done in the baroque style - the "Michel" is one of the most famous baroque churches in northern Germany. St. Michaelis tower can be climbed - great panoramic views from here. Although almost the whole neighbouring area was destroyed in a firebombing raid in 1944, the "Michel" was practically the only structure left standing after the bombing.
St. Michaelis at night
While cycling back to my hotel one night after a heavy rainstorm I came upon this impressive building, which turned out to be St. Michaelis church.
Later I looked it up and found that that the first large St. Michaelis church on this site was built starting in 1647, but in 1750 it was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.
The second church was built from 1750 to 1762 in a baroque style. This one lasted a century and a half until it, too, burned to the ground in a fire that was caused by soldering in the tower.
The third church was built from 1906 to 1912. This one was badly damaged by bombing attacks in the Second World War, but was rebuilt and re-opened in 1952.
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Hamburg's famous landmark and one of the five main churches of Hamburg with its 132 meter high steeple. Also known as the "Michel".
It has its baroque style and Germany's most important Protestant church. It was consecrated in 1661 but totally destroyed in 1750 and in 1943.
The 453 steps are definitely worth climbing. But mind you, if you have fear of height, better take the elevator. Once you passed the lift level, there is no more possibility to take a ride. Either you go through or walk back. I did managed till its top level almost out of breath, but, i was rewarded with the fantastic views over the city and the harbour on sundowns. Worth doing!
- Historical Travel
The steeple of the church of St Michael, in short Michel, is Hamburg’s landmark. It is visible from almost everywhere. On older photos you’ll see it in a characteristic bright green. A few years ago it has received a new copper coating and is still dark brownish grey. Oxidation has set in but the chemical process is slow so it will take a while until Michel has regained the same colour as the other, older copper roofs around. The top is already turning green.
The church is one of the “big three” among Germany’s protestant church architecture of the 18th century.
Go up the steeple for a grand 360° view over the whole city and the harbour. You can walk the stairs if you feel like exercise but the easier way is taking the lift. Photos of the view in my travelogue.
The Michel has even made it on the 2008 special edition of the 2 Euro coin. Each year the German Federal Bank issues a coin for the Federal state that has the presidency in the second chamber of the parliament (Bundesrat), which was Hamburg in 2008.
This is a chamber under the church.It has a small chapel in it and also houses the tombs of many famous German personalities including that of the world famous composer Bach.I really enjoyed the few mins I spent there.
The TV in this chamber shows the process in which the German currency coins are made.It was an interesting watch but i thought it dint quite fit in.It was while watching this video I realized that the green coloured dome is made of bronze and the green colour is years of rust!
If you walk down the road from St Michaels a few metres you can see the Krameramtswohnungen on your right. It has a very unassuming entrance and can actually miss it if you dont look carefully.The Krameramtswohnungen is originally a dwelling place made for the widows of the members of the Krameramt (Shopkeepers guild).Its a small street with houses on both sides and has a lot of small shops that sell locally made products like candy to pickles to toys.Its kinda touristy but a nice place to have a look not necessarily shopping.
There is a museum in House C but i dint go there so don't know how it is.
After seeing the church interiors and the crypted vault tour it was time to move up.You can either take the stairs or the elevator 9 floors up to the viewing platform.The view from there is brilliant and totally worth it! I wanted to stay for a long time but I went on a chilly Feb day and the wind was too much to bear beyond a few mins.
St Michael - under renovation!
If you are in Hamburg,a visit to the St Michael is a must.But let me warn you that the church is undergoing extensive renovation and this will continue till Oct'09(i was informed by one of the officials).Be warned! I was really let down when i entered the beautiful church,it looked like a construction site with scaffolding and drilling noises and dust.I could not see anything of the beauty:( maybe another time.
I don't know how much the usual entrance fee to the church is but I paid 3.75 Euros for the Crypted Vault and the Viewing Platform combined.(this could cost you more if you dont have the Hamburg card)
Der Michel -- St. Michael's
This is the distinctive mark of Hamburg & well worth a visit. The church is beautiful inside and a lift will take you to the top of the tower for a great view of Hamburg.
A few years ago, they repaired the copper roof, so now it is mostly black. It will eventually turn green with age ... as I remember it ... it is much more beautiful that way.
The burnt church walking tour
While walking around Hamburg you can't miss the burnt church on the skyline.
I walked past the church walking from the St Pauli area into town. It's a walk I'd do especially in the summer as it was but others may wish to use public transport. The streets around the church were quant. A tourist shop is there, and they were filming some tv program too.
I was over churches by this time so did not go inside.
- Historical Travel
Hamburger Michl - St.Michaeliskirche
St. Michaeliskirche is mostly just called Michl by the local people and it is one of the most beautiful churches in Hamburg. You may enter it freely and without restrictions during the day, just for the krypta with exhibits of the history of the church and for the lift to the spire you have to pay a small entrance-fee.
Photography is forbidden inside the church and a guard will watch you most of the day. That is a pity, because the interior is really lovely !
You may also step up the tower in order to enjoy a perfect view of the city. At first you have about 50 steps you have to walk, the rest is made by a lift !
the church is open May-October:
Mon-Sat 09.00a.m.-08.00p.m., Sun 11.30a.m.-05.30p.m.
and Nov-April : Mon-Sat: 10.00a.m.-04.30p.m. Sun:11.30a.m.-04.30p.m.
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
" Michel " old landmark of Hamburg
The Michaelis church is an old nordisch baroque church. Don´t miss a view from the tower and one of the daily organ-messes. Don´t miss the custom of blowing from the steeple.
At 10 o´clock in the morning and 9 0´clock in the evening you can hear from the tower a choral blowing in all directions of the heaven.
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
Nice church in the centre of Hamburg
Visit the Michaeliskirche during your stay and walk (you can also take the elevator - but there are usually lots of people waiting - and there are not too many steps to the top) up the tower. You will have a marvellous view over the "Hansestadt Hamburg".
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