7/15/2013

Churches, Part 1: Germany

(Don't forget:  you can click on the picture to see the details better!)
Europe has some amazing churches.  I would be perfectly content if I could just go in each church, look around, and just sit for a few minutes to take in the beauty.  It's pretty incredible how beautiful they are, especially when you think about how old they are.
The first church we visited was WiesKirche.  I already wrote about it in my Getting There post.  So, I won't bore you again with the pictures or commentary!
In Berlin, some of us went into the Kaiser Wilhelm Church.  This church was built in the 1890's and was bombed in 1943.  Part of the building remains as it was after the bombing; in 2007 there was a campaign to rescue the church.
The outside of the church:

The "honeycomb" design is absolutely beautiful at night with the blue glass.  Unfortunately, my pictures that I took at night didn't turn out.  Here's why it's so beautiful at night with the light shining:

You enter the church in the base of the spire that was bombed.  There are mosaics depicting monarchs:
 (In these next 2, you can see where the bombs destroyed part of the mosaic):

(In all of the pictures, you can see the cracks in the mosaics caused by the bombing.)



Reliefs depicting the life of Christ:

As well as the life of Kaiser Wilhelm I:
There is the damaged statue of Christ that was on the original altar:
A cross made from the nails from the roof timbers of the Coventry Chapel (England) which was damaged during a bombing raid:

The altar inside the church:

The "Stalingrad Madonna", which is a charcoal drawing by Kurt Rueber, a German staff physician and Protestant pastor during the battle of Stalingrad. He used a Russian map for the paper.  This drawing was a symbol of peace during the Cold War.
Also in the church, there is a Spanish wooden crucifix from the 1300's
The church is still undergoing renovations.  The church spire was closed, so we weren't able to climb up to the top.  I think it's suppose to be finished by the end of the summer.
I was going to mention all of the churches we saw in 1 post, but then realized it would be more like a novel!  So, to keep the posts readable, I made the decision to break it up.
Next up:  St. George (Georgenkirche) in Eisenach.

8 comments:

  1. Wow! You guys were busy, weren't you? But as I can tell, there was so much to see and to do! And thanks for sharing it all with us.

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  2. The Kaiser Wilhelm was deliberately left that way, only stabilized, in order to be a symbol of the cost of war.

    When I was a JAG over there, we briefed all of the incoming airmen on LOAC (law of armed conflict) under which the Geneva Conventions specifically exempt churches and hospitals as targets. Sadly, modern terrorists disdain those laws and use hospitals and mosques and churches as shields and swords...which then makes them legitimate targets for the countries that HAVE agreed to LOAC restrictions. I'm proud to say that US Armed Forces still keep those targets "off the map" in 99.99% of the cases. They won't go after such a building unless there's no other alternative and there's imminent risk to our forces. Of course, the bad guys know that an exploit it.

    So...what has the world learned since 1945? Hmmm...

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  3. I think the ancient churches are so beautiful... the details.... when we go to new places I always like to visit churches. They don't make 'em like they used to

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  4. I can't imagine being in a church that old.

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  5. What beauty and rich history. I wonder if the people who live in that area ever begin to take it for granted. ? ? Amazing.

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  6. So different yet so amazingly beautiful! I love churches and would love to travel and do a book about them. Even in older towns like Chicago there are gorgeous church structures. Thank you for your pictures. I'm enjoying your trip along with you.....

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  7. I'm so with you on just sitting and taking it all in. The ages on some of those churches/cathedrals never ceases to amaze me!

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  8. How lovely! I TOO could sit there for a long time and take it in....the mosaics are amazing.

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