Thursday, February 9, 2017

2014 Germany Trip - St Gangolf's Church @ Trier

Location: Trier, Germany

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

Trier has no shortage of churches just like any other German cities with a long history. In fact they even had their churches differentiated by political affiliations due to the fact that the archbishops of past were both religious as well as secular leaders of a city. The Church of St Gangolf was the citizen's church and the second oldest church in Trier, second only to Trier Cathedral.

The Baroque portal that led me from Main Market square into the Church of St Gangolf.

The original church building was built in 958 but replaced by a newer one between 1284 and 1344. However the current baroque outlook was the result of a long list of renovations and additions beginning in 1500. Especially striking from the Main Market square was the tower that stuck out from the surrounding buildings, which was the church's peculiar yet interesting point. The church itself had been surrounded by houses completely, with only the east side facing a street. Even this face would be blocked by stalls during popular months, making the whole church invisible and unknown to passerby, almost as if it wanted to be hidden.

How then does one enter the church? There is in fact an aisle kept open from the Main Market square between two buildings, and a beautiful baroque gate marked the opening, its delicate features standing in stark contrast against the relatively normal looking buildings to its side. This baroque gate was part of the aforementioned list of additions that made the church such a beauty - this portal was built in 1732.

Looking towards the Main Market from the portal.

The tallest structure of the church came with its own little history. Originally the tower of the church was only a 4 story building that barely challenged the height of the cathedral. As the archbishop as struggling with the resistance of the townspeople against his rule, the wealthy widow of the Lord Mayor, Adelheid of Besselich, donated to raise the tower by another two floors, essentially making it the tallest structure then, higher ever than the cathedral. The archbishop only managed to secure the funding to raise the cathedral's tower a few years later but he was robbed of his pride.

I was particularly drawn to the church's Gothic features and color scheme rivaling that of an apricot. A plaque on the entrance stated that the paint job was restored in 1984. As if to beckon me welcome, a magnolia was blossoming in the chilly spring weather, its petals scattering across the wind with each breeze. it was truly magical.

The church's tower - notice the 6 distinct levels. The top 2 floors were added during the period where the townspeople silently resist the archbishop's power.


An elaborate tomb

St Gangolf's Church was not just lovely on the outside, it was equally magnificent from the inside. Though the main aisle was only two story high, the ribbed ceiling created an illusion as if it was higher than that. The color scheme extended to the interior, the supporting structures painted in orange yellow.

Ribbed ceiling over center aisle

Stone retable of former St Michael's altar

A sculpture at the side aisle

A beautiful yet unknown corner

I wonder what this is? Why is there a string attached to the ceiling?

Would that be St George who was in progress of defeating the dragon?

One other thing I appreciated visiting the Church of St Gangolf was its relatively lack of visitors. It was not a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with it partially blocked by surrounding buildings despite its tower sticking out, made it not very obvious as a visitor's spot. I was fortunate that I was lured in by the baroque portal that led me to it, otherwise I would be as ignorant as the next traveler. Definitely a place which I recommend highly to those who prefer something slightly off the beaten path.

Environment:         The second oldest church in Trier close to a market square
Suitable for:            History buffs, church admirers
Visit worthiness:       7/10
Historical value:        5.0/5.0 
Architectural value:  3.0/5.0
Photographic value: 3.0/5.0
Landmark value:      3.0/5.0

Entrance Fee:                  free
Opening Hours:             daily 7.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
Best Moment to Visit: anytime
Length of Visit:              <1 hour


Contact:                    -
E-mail:                      -
Address:                   Grabenstraße 19, 54290 Trier, Germany

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