Saturday, 5 September 2009

Medieval decorations ....

Lubeck is proud of its great medieval Gothic Brick Churches. Seriously damaged during the war they have been lovingly restored, even the medieval decoration inside has been recreated using the samw paint formulae and exactly recreating the original deocration or simply restoring it where it has survived. At the highest point in the town stands the Marienkirche - the Church of St Mary the Virgin - with it's soaring twin towers. This is the Civic Church standing next to the Rathaus or City Hall. Like the church the Rathaus is a medieval structure. Reduced to a shell in 1943 - 45 it too has been painstakingly restored to its original appearance and use.

The first picture gives an idea of the soaring height of this church, 38 metres or a hundred and twenty feet internally in the nave with a total length of 103metres (335 feet). The brick and plaster vaulting is decorated simply and very beautifully, the present decoration being a recreation of the original destroyed in a bombing raid in 1942. Interestingly the fire caused later plaster to spall from the walls revealing the medieval decoration beneath. These were carefully recorded and in 1948 work began on restoring them. Recently eyewitnesses have appeared on History Channel talking of the 1942 raid and one lady recalled the sounds of the bells falling from the towers. She described it as sounding as if the churches themselves were crying out in agony.

The twin towers are 406 feet in height, a phenomenal feat by the medieval builders using brick. At the time of its construction (1250 - 1350) no one in the world had ever attempted to build a brick and mortar wall of this height before.

At the end of the South Aisle is a small enclosure in which lie the remains of two of the eight bells that fell during the 1942 fire. They remain as a memorial to the many who died as the medieval city burned. A fitting one for a revived city.

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