The St. Marienkirche is one of Berlins’ oldest churches which is thought to date from about 1270. The oldest parts of the church are constructed from granite but the majority of the building is constructed of brick. Two interesting features of the church are the Baptismal Font dating from 1437 and the ‘dance of death’, a 22m long wall fresco dating from 1485. Before World War 2 the church was in the middle of a built up area but the area suffered extensive bombing damage and as the building were demolished the church ended up in an open space.
The Marienkirche is located on the edge of Alexanderplatz near the TV Tower in the central or Mitte district of Berlin. Dating back to the 13th century, it is one of the oldest churches in Berlin. It was originally a Catholic Church but as was the way with so very many churches in Germany, it became a Lutheran Church at the time of the Protestant Reformation.
It is built in granite in parts and red brick in other parts. The red brick matches the brick of the nearby Rotes (red) Rathaus. It was severly damaged by Allied bombs during WWII and as it was part of East Berlin, it was restored in the fifties by the authorities of East Germany.
Marienkirche, which is located in Karl Liebknechtstrasse, was first mentioned in document in 1292, but it is suposed to date from earlier in the 13th century. Originally it was a Roman catholic church but has been converted to a Lutheran Protestant. The church is seat of bishop of the evangelical church of Berlin, Brandenburg and Silesia. It is amongst oldest churches in Berlin, along with Nikolakirche. The old part of the church, mainly the basement and its gound floor, is made of granite while the reast is built of a red brick. During WW II bombings the church was heavily damaged and restored again in 1950.
Before WW II Marienkirche was a parish church for densely populated area of the district Mitte.
The statue of Martin Luther stands outside the church.
The Marienkirche (St Mary’s Church) is the second oldest church in Berlin (after the Nicholaikirche), having been built mainly between 1270 and the early 1300s. The neo-Gothic spire is however a 1790 addition. It is the only one of the city’s medieval churches to still be in use for worship.
There is no admission charge and it is well worth going inside, if only to see the admittedly very faded Dance of Death (Totentanz) fresco in the vestibule. This was painted after the plague of 1486 and shows plague victims from all classes of society dancing with Death, who appears not as a destroyer, but as the messenger of God summoning people to Heaven. The fresco was discovered under many layers of paint in 1860 and the church is planning to restore it. You can buy a small mosaic tile for €2.50 which you add to the model of the fresco just inside the main door. The proceeds from these sales are going towards the restoration project. Photography (without flash) is permitted but it is very hard to capture these faded colours, although some fiddling with photo software will bring them out a little – see photo 3.
I liked the Marienkirche mostly because of the almost incongruous contrast to its surroundings. On Karl-Liebknecht Strasse, it is just beyond the Marx-Engels Forum . The green space outside, red roof and neat spire, were ( to me anyhow ) a little reminiscent of a church and village green in New England. Though just a few minutes away from the concrete craziness of the Alexander Platz it's a potent reminder of an earlier Berlin.
In the late 13th century this area represented the first urban expansion of Berlin and the MK was built between 1270-1280. After the war, the surrounding buildings were mostly in ruins and the remains were destroyed to form the park that exists there now. The MK was damaged but survived and was completely restored in the late 60s.
The MK did not escape entirely though and twice in its history the bells of the church were appropriated and melted down to help make weapons of war. This happened during the reign of Freidrich 1, the first of the Hohenzollerns and again in the final days of the Hohenzollerns, under Kaiser Wilhelm 11. In 1989, the church was used for sit ins as part of the protests that led up to the collapse of the wall.
The Marienkirche is open every day and has regular musical recitals at the weekends.
The interior is plain and restful but has several features worth checking out, principally the amazing Dance of Death fresco which is just inside the main door.It's now a little faded but an accompanying guide shows you what it was originally like.
Admission is free and opening hours are : April-October10-6 and November-March 10-4.
This church is located in Karl-Liebknechtstrasse (Mitte). Marienkirche and Nikolaikirche are the oldest churches in Berlin. The first texts which mention Marienkirche date back to XIIIth century. It was originally built in granite, but after more than one reconstruction, as almost any building in Berlin, red brick has become its main feature. Nowadays it is in the middle of the open spaces which are near Alexanderplatz, although previously to the World War II bombings, that area was a populated part of the city. Before Lutheran Reformation, it was a Catholic Roman church, but it has been a Protestant church since then. Located at the entrance hall there is a fresco of the Dance of Death, which depicts people of every social class dancing with a personafication of Death. The fresco was painted at XVth century. It opens from 10 to 14 at autumm and winter and from 10 to 21 at spring and summer.
Esta iglesia esta situada en Karl-Liebknechtstrasse (Mitte). Marienkirche y Nikolaikirche son las iglesias mas antiguas de Berlin. Los primeros textos que mecionan Marienkirche datan del siglo XIII. Fue construida originalmente en granito, pero despues de mas de una reconstruccion, como casi cualquier edificio en Berlin, el ladrillo rojo ha pasado a ser su senha de identidad principal. Hoy en dia se encuentra situada en los espacios abiertos que hay cerca de Alexanderplatz, aunque antes esa zona era antes de los bombardeos de la Segunda Guerra Mundial un parte muy densamente poblada de la ciudad. Antes de la Reforma de Lutero, era una iglesia catolica, pero ha sido protestante desde entonces. En la entrada principal hay un fresco de la Danza de la Muerte, que representa a personas de todas las clases sociales bailando con una personificacion de la Muerte. Abre de 10 a 14 en otonho e invierno y de 10 a 21 horas en primavera y verano
When you visit St. Mary`s church, one of the few old churches on the east city of Berlin, you should pay special attention to the dance macabre or dance of death (1484) an anonymous fresco depicting the great plaque of 1480-84.
Berlin doesn't have a whole lot which survives from its medieval or early modern eras, so the Marienkirche is doubly appreciated here. Parts of its interior date from the 14th century, and the base of the tower from the 16th. (The onion dome atop the tower was added in the 1790s.)
When I visited Berlin in November 2004, the Marienkirche was in the middle of substantial renovations, and closed to the public.
One of the few gothic interiors I managed to find in Berlin...maybe I just wasn't trying hard enough. Small and serene. The "Dance Of Death" may be faded but it still looks lovely. The pulpit is also worth the time to appreciate.
The part of a medieval wall of the Cologne castle and church Marienkirche - the most ancient sights of Berlin are kept here. There is the majestic fountain of Neptune at Neus Markt.
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