Sunday, February 12, 2017

2014 Germany Trip - Church of Our Lady (Liebfrauenkirche) @ Trier (UNESCO World Heritage)

Location: Trier, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


<- previous: St Gangolf's Church

I was confused at first: was that 2 churches or 1 huge connected church? It turned out to be both. From the outset, both the Liebfrauenkirche and Trier Cathedral were distinguished from each other yet inseparable - the former distinctly angular where the latter had more curves, the former a gothic work while the latter a Romanesque beauty. They were operated as 2 separate churches but they were connected structurally, freely accessible between each other internally. They had both been designated as part of Trier's single UNESCO World Heritage Site entry.

Liebfrauenkirche on the foreground, with Trier Cathedral at the back. They can usually be differentiated by the color tone of the building material - the former usually darker while the latter usually fairer.

Meaning "Church of Our Lady" in German, Liebfrauenkirche was originally a Roman double church which southern portion was later replaced by the early Gothic style of the current church. Though an inscription stated that construction occurred from 1227 to 1234, it was believed that it could be slightly different. It is considered as one of the earliest Gothic church in Germany, its architecture falling into the style of French Gothic. All structures above ground were not Roman but excavations below ground showed that several Gothic columns were supported on Roman foundations.

It may not be immediately obvious but unlike the usual church's cruciform layout where the floor was laid out as a long and three short aisles, this was a round church. Liebfrauenkirche still had a cruciform vaulting but niches and walls transformed the floor plan into a twelve petaled rose, which in itself carried the symbol of Virgin Mary, the dedicated patron saint who was also known as rosa mystica, as well as representing the twelve tribes of Israel and the Twelve Apostles.

Front facade of Liebfrauenkirche

Front portal of the church, with elaborate sculptures

A different view of the front facade

Inner view

Ribbed and floral painted ceiling

A look down central aisle

A close look at the floor plan also revealed that there were 12 supporting pillars, and I noticed that each of them had an apostle as well as an article of the Apostle's Creed painted on. All of these pillars and the paintings were completely visible only from one spot, marked by a black stone. I only realized later that the church grounds included beautiful cloisters situated behind the building, which I totally missed during my visit. What a waste...

Another interior look

Stained glass

What is he thinking?

Elaborate sculptures

Read this carefully

List

Virgin Mary holding Jesus (I guess)

Including the altar in this shot

Each of the supporting pillars had an apostle and an article from Apostle's Creed painted on it.

Painted on two sides of the pillar

Candle light

The mother and the son

No entry

Elaborate carvings

Another interior look

A cross on a dome

Elaborate handles in the shape of fish

Plaque commemorating the inscription of Liebfrauenkirche into UNESCO World Heritage List.

Any visit to Liebfrauenkirche would warrant a subsequent tour to Trier Cathedral and vice versa since both were connected, next to each other and were UNESCO World Heritage Sites, even if you are not a church admirer. I only spent limited amount of time in this church but it had already left a deep impression upon me. However I was further awed when I passed through the portal connected to Trier Cathedral.

<- previous: St Gangolf's Church
next: Cathedral of Trier ->








Environment:         A round church listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site
Suitable for:            History buffs, church admirers
Visit worthiness:       9/10
Historical value:        5.0/5.0 
Architectural value:  4.0/5.0
Photographic value: 4.0/5.0
Landmark value:       5.0/5.0

Entrance Fee:                  free
Opening Hours:             (Apr - Oct)   daily 8.00 a.m. - 7.00 p.m. (Sundays 6.00 p.m.)
                                               (Nov - Mar) daily 8.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m. 
Best Moment to Visit: anytime of the day
Length of Visit:              1 hour

Website:                   http://www.liebfrauen-trier.de/ (German) and http://www.trier-info.de/english/church-of-our-lady-info

Contact:                    +49 0651-170 790 (phone); +49 0651-170 7917 (fax)
E-mail:                      pfarramt.liebfrauen@liebfrauen-trier.de
Address:                   Kath. Pfarrei Liebfrauen TrierLiebfrauenstr. 254290 Trier


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