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The church of Sickingen is the oldest of the three churches in the double village. Its construction took place in the earliest era of the reformation. Rumours have it that this church was the first ever protestant church building but... there is a "but".
Several Imperial Knights in the Kraichgau region were among the followers of Luther and among the first territorial rulers who introduced the Protestant lore in their villages and churches. The construction of the church dates from 1523 (date in the vault of the choir). One member of the Sickingen family, the (in)famous Franz von Sickingen, is known as an ardent supporter of the reformation. However, the village of Sickingen did not belong to him but to his uncle Konrad who wisely stayed away from his relative's military adventures. Thus, although Franz had Lutheran church services celebrated in his realm already in 1522, the church of Sickingen must be considered a catholic church. However, the village turned protestant soon after.
Details are not known, there is a lot of confusion about the history of Sickingen, both the family and the village. Even genealogy is not clear, every researcher published a different version of the family tree. The archive is lost so this will remain unknown. Next-door Flehingen got its first Lutheran preacher in 1530.
The church in Sickingen stayed Lutheran-protestant until the early 17th century - again, the excact date is unknown resp. the dates given are contradictory - when the Sickingen family converted to the Roman Catholic confession. Since then the church has been Catholic.
As usual at residences of noble families, the church contains their tombs. The Sickingen tombs in the choir, however, are elaborate art works high above the usual level. These are the church's greatest treasures with their exquisite stone carved figures. The defunct are presented almost life-size, the men dressed in armour, the women in festive clothing according to the Spanish court fashion. To be noted:
- tomb of Lucia von Andlau, died 1547 (photo 4), wife of Franz Konrad von Sickingen
- tomb of Hans von Sickingen, elder brother of Franz Konrad, died 1547
- the 7 metres high quadruple monument of Franz the Younger von Sickingen and his wife Anna Maria von Venningen and, above, their son Schweickard with his wife Maria Magdalena von Kronberg, created around 1610 (photo 2)
Contact the parish if you want to visit the church, it is not always open.
Updated Oct 17, 2010
Sickingen used to be a village of its own with a castle of its own, home to the noble family von Sickingen. The family had to sell their property in the 19th century and finally died out. The castle, later a water palace, fell in ruins and was finally demolished. There is nothing left of Sickingen Palace. It was located in the valley by the creek where the modern festival hall has been built. Only the village church remained (see separate tip).
In 1936 Sickingen lost its independence and was united with neighbouring Flehingen. Worse than that, Sickingen even lost its name and became part of Flehingen. Painful for the Sickinger inhabitants because these two villages have always been rivals. It's only small comfort that in the meantime the same has also happened to Flehingen in the 1970s when the united village became part of Oberderdingen.
The memory is kept alive. Information boards, actually in German and English, have been placed by the stair to the church. The inhabitants are proud of the history of their village and its knightly family. The Knights of Sickingen had the status of imperial knights and then barons and ruled a territory with property not only here but also West of the Rhine around the Nahe valley and in the Palatinate Hills. They were related to the neighbours von Flehingen and used the same crest. The most famous representant of the family was Franz von Sickingen, imperial office, robber-knight and supporter of the reformation, a colourful figure who died a dramatic death in 1523 after his campaign against the mighty Archbishop of Trier failed.
Written Oct 16, 2010
Along the street that leads to the train station, a post office was installed around 1900. The building has long ceased to be a post office, it is a residential house. However, the facade still bears the (renewed) crest of the German Empire and the inscription "Kaiserliches Postamt" (Imperial Post Office). A few years later the Catholic parish community built their kindergarten, new church and parsonage next to it.
Written Oct 16, 2010
The Catholic community of Flehingen finally fulfilled their dream of having a church of their own shortly before World War I after having shared a church with the Protestants for more than 200 years. They bought some real estate on the hill opposite the centre of the village and the Protestant church and first built a kindergarten and housing for the nuns who run it in 1905. A few years later they started the church. The architect was Johannes Schroth, a renowned architect from Karlsruhe. He designed the church and the adjacent parsonage in a mix of neo-Romanesque and art nouveau style. The three buildings form an impressive group that overlooks the village.
The interior shows almost byzantine forms. World War I and the following economical crisis inhibited the completion of the decorum. Only in 1932/33 the vaults could be painted. The frescoes by Franz Schilling are still pre-Nazi but the spirit of those times can already be anticipated.
The church is the main catholic parish church and can be expected to be open in the daytime, but if yyou want to make sure better contact the parish in advance, address and everything are on their website.
Written Oct 16, 2010
The protestant church of Flehingen was built in 1825. It substituted an older precedessor which was in bad shape and too small for the growing community, or better communities: Since the late 17th century both Protestants and Catholics used the church. The old governors, the Knights of Flehingen, had introduced the reformation in Flehingen around 1530 but their heirs, the von Wolff-Metternich, were Roman Catholic and enforced their faith. Both communities alternated in the use of the church until the Catholics built their new parish church on the opposite hill in 1910. The main altar still shows the case of the former tabernacle at the foot of the cross.
The church contains a number of 16th and 17th century tombstones of Knights and Ladies of Flehingen that originate from the burial vault underneath the old church.
The church is closed except for services, an appointment with the parish is needed to see it. Since the parson is not living here but in Zaisenhausen the average visitor will not want to take the effort. In case you have special interest in the church, here is the address data of the protestant parish in Zaisenhausen.
Updated Oct 16, 2010
The palace of Flehingen substituted an older water castle that was burnt down in 1504. It was rebuilt in the 1560s and then refurbished several times. The crest above the portal shows the date 1722. It belonged to the local noble family von Flehingen, later Wolff-Metternich zu Gracht.
The palace consists of four wings around what used to be an inner courtyard, and four towers at the corners. It used to be surrounded by a moat with water, as the bridge to the main portal still indicates.
The interior of the palace cannot be visited. There is no need to grieve because of that, though, because there is absolutely nothing inside that would be worth visiting. In the 19th century the noble owners sold it to the municipality. The building then served for several purposes and was in the end converted into a home for difficult boys. In recent years the interior underwent more changes, the courtyard was covered with a glass roof and the rooms were turned into guest apartments: Schloss Flehingen nowadays serves as a centre for seminars and conventions. A side building, erected in the eraly 20th century, contains the dining hall and kitchen. Then there is a modern building with seminar rooms and other side buildings with more accommodation.
Written Oct 16, 2010