It cannot get more off path than this, but if you have time and are mobile when at Worms, you should go and see this most cutest tiny house yourself ! Ibersheim, a “suburb” of Worms (not actually suburb, but incorporated into Worms greater town), is only 12 km to the north at the banks of river Rhein. Just go to Rheindürkheim and then turn right, direction Ibersheim.
I am grateful again to Fritz Reuter, for having placed a photo of this in the booklet about Worms. As soon as I saw this photo, I knew I MUST go and find it. What a lovely and funny surprise, as it is part of a tiny little old house, which is a sight for itself !
Oh, the name :-) It only means something for German speaking people, and if I translate it into English, VT software would transform something into *** anyhow. Now how to explain this name ? Ducate sh***er maybe, but the little wooden carved sculpture speaks for itself, lol.
Well, this tiny guy (he is tiny in reality, if the sun wouldn’t have shine on his blank butt, I might not even have noticed him) is at the edge of a tiny house called Ammersheisje. Meaning house of the… erm, no none is actually sure if “Ammer” means poor (arm in German) or midwife (Hebamme in German), but this does not matter, does it ? Well, the house has been lovely renovated by the locals and not only has the little sh***er carved on but also lovely other carvings and paintings. One day, I’ll surely write about this lovely village and the house, as – ah thanks – Ibersheim is on VT database.
You can find it when turning at the sign Gemeindehaus, and just follow the road until you won’t get any further (= until you come to the dam which separates village from Rhein river).
Inside, Bergkirche is very simple, but has a lot of serene atmosphere when the sun shines through the windows and paints shadows on the floor. The windows still have the old ornaments painted around them (photo 3). On the gallery, I found a beautiful old organ, but learnt that only the outer shell is still from 1781, made by the famous local organ builder Johann Georg Linck. The gallery itself is made of wood and beautifully painted (sorry, no photo, as I am limited to 5, lol).
I already mentioned the crypt, which is amazing to visit. It is very tiny, maybe only 3 x 3 m, but has been restored and is simple as well – plain white walls and pink sandstone pillars (photo 5). On Worms website I also found a fascinating story of how the crypt was rediscovered: 3 kids were playing hide and seek in 1930 and found a hole, which was almost covered with grass. Curious as kids are, they inspected it more closely as (as almost every kids of that age), they were dreaming of a treasure behind it, below the church. So they went inside, or more fell inside and discovered the crypt room.
Inside the church again, the baptistery is also an interesting piece of work. It is quite new, of 1985, made by Verena Schubert-Andres, a sculptor of Frankenthal. The upper part has originally been from an oil mill, but the pedestal was carved by her. It is a very serene sight, when the light paints shadows around it (photo 4).
(Thanks to Detlev Johannes for telling about the crypt discovery on Worms website).
As described above, Bergkiche’s tower has many of these apotropaic sculptures, called scaring heads or envy heads in German. These have been widely used since ages on all kinds of buildings to scare off “the evil”, demons, devils or witches.
Most of the sculptures on the tower of Bergkirche are the original ones, but some have been restored early 20th century. As the church is very old, they are quite simple and not as “elaborate” as some others on newer churches (even the restored ones), but I like this even better, as it shows how our anchestors have seen the bad and evil.
Two of these sculptures (in photos 1 and 2) are left and right of the main entrance portal, the other two (photos 3 and 4) are on the sides. One of them looks like a sheep, with a very stupid look in his face (oh sorry sheep of the world !).
On the northern side of the tower is another detail, which shows Hochheim’s coat of arms or official seal, given to the village in 1694 – the upper half of an orb.
(thanks to Wolfgang Hasch, through whom I learned this from what he wrote on Worms’ website).
I discovered this beautiful old church in a little booklet about Worms and wanted to find it, as it looked nice in the photo. On a lovely spring Sunday in April I finally made it to the north of Worms and…. fell in love with it immediately. It was maybe the setting inmidst a small vineyard (photo 1), which is typical for some Palatine churches or the rather simple albeit impressive building, or it is the suburb of Hochheim, which has such a very much relaxed atmosphere – I just liked it and can only highly recommend to go and look for it, even if it is a bit off path.
People have settled here already during Roman days (turn of the century and a bit later). But it gained importance in the days of Bishop Burchard (1000-1023), who is considered to have been the real founder of Worms. He was up here quite often, for contemplation, and had a little church built, what is Bergkirche (mountain church) today. Those days, the crypt has been built as well, but it was rather small. After a fire in 1609, tower and crypt remained, but the nave was newly constructed. This date is engraved into the southern portal’s keystone (see photo 4). This is, by the way, the only entrance into the church during non-service times.
Very much fascinating are also the details on the old tower. As the tower is relatively short and compact compared to other churches (at least I preceive this), the little scaring sculptures are better seen here than elsewhere. That’s why I have dedicated a separate tip to these tower details.
(the website below is unfortunately only in German)
Even if Worms was badly destroyed during WWII, it still holds many little treasures hidden. If you walk along in the streets, don’t miss to look around, as you will see a lot of decorating elements on the houses.
The first picture is a little drummer angel above a door in Bauhofgasse (between the Cathedral and the Nibelungen Museum), also still has a royal coat of arms and inscription. I don’t know what this stands for, as the house did not held some special exhibition or shop. So it must be still left from former days, without the descendants of the former owners living there.
The second picture is connected to the Nibelingenlied. It shows Volker von Alzey, gleeman in the saga at Burgund Court in Worms and loyal to Hagen, who killed Siegfried. It is interesting - this little statue was part of the former Cornelianum (house built by industrialist Heyl in 1910). But it survived the war and is now mounted at a wall of the city library, which followed the Cornelianum. But Worms’ officials do not lead attention to him, I almost missed him, he is high on the wall, and no sign at all about his meaning (I found it out later through a website).
Walking among the tomb stones is like stepping back in time, you can start from the far left side of the cemetery where the tombs stones are about 1000 years old and go further with the years almost till the present time
Well, in Israel you can find 3000 years old cemeteries but for here in Europe 1000 years is seems to be the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe, or at list one of the oldest ones.