During my trip in Germany in 2015, I was able to visit about half a dozen cities in the country by train. Most of the cities I visited. I noticed that the main train station on some of these cities were located at the city center where most of the main churches and cathedrals of the city is located. This is also where most of the city’s life happens.
The churches and cathedrals I saw where built during the time when there is no separation of church and state. Kings and dukes would build houses of worship like these to show not just their faith but also a show of power among their people and to match other European powers. Most are grandiose and opulent, others are smaller, simpler but still true to its religious faith. Here is a short list of some of churches and cathedrals I visited in Germany.
Cologne Cathedral – This cathedral is very easy to find and visit. It is very conveniently located right outside the Cologne main train station. Just a very yards away from the train station and a few steps leads to the main entrance of this grand cathedral. Built in 818 AD, this church have been serving as the city’s main catholic church from the very beginning. Inside the cathedral is a collection of ornate statuary including St. Christopher carrying the child Jesus on his shoulders and the famous Milan Madonna.
Berliner Dom – also known as the Berlin Cathedral, this is also the main burial ground of the Prussian Royal family. Located just across the street from the old Royal Palace, this is one of the cathedrals that had to be rebuilt due to the bombings of World War II. The cathedral is surrounded by royal palaces and museums all built by the Prussian kings at one point or another. After the bombings, the cathedral was reconstructed and completed in 1945 to a simpler architecture than the original. Though the design is different, the original altar still remains and in use today.
Church of St. Peter – When I visited Munich for the first time in March 2015, it was cold and damp. While walking around Marienplatz it started to rain and I took refuge at this church just yards away from the main square. The church may not look like much from the outside, but it is something to marvel from the inside. This is the oldest church in Munich, built in the 11th century and it is still in use today.
Frauenkirche, Dresden – This is one of the many churches in Germany dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Almost every city in Germany would have a church named after her. Originally built in 1743, there had been many churches before this on the very spot it sits on starting from the 11th century. This 18th century structure was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt to its original grandeur completed in 1994. Today, it is tallest structure in Dresden’s city center.
The Dresden Cathedral – do not mistake this for the Frauenkirhe for this is an entirely different church. The Dresden Cathedral is a catholic church built in 1751, it is located next to the Royal Palace and just yards away from the River Elbe. The cathedral is also where the royal crypt of the Wettin dynasty is located.
St. Thomas Church, Leipzig – This is one of the most important church in Germany, as it is the final resting place of Leipzig native son, Johann Sebastian Bach. Located just off the old city center, it is a not a big church or cathedral but it was the very place where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart once played at the beginning of his career.
Frauenkirche, Munich – it is also dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it is the tallest structure in Munich. There is a city ordinance in Munich that no building may be built taller than the Frauenkirche so not to obstruct the view and skyline of the city. During my visit, one of the towers of this church was covered in tarp and scaffolding, an indication that the city is doing some restoration.
St. Bartholomew Church, Frankfurt – This is probably one of the most unique cathedral in all of Germany mainly because it has an archaeological garden sitting next to it. Apart from the antique religious figures displayed inside the church, it also have a museum open to the public (just like the one at Cologne Cathedral). St. Bartholomew Church is located not far from the Romerburg.
Museums in Europe are not the only ones with a great collection of artifacts and historical items. Churches and cathedrals like these are also great examples of the history of the city and the people who lives there. Just a word of advice, try so not to disrupt services and visit these places of worship during Sunday services to not show any disrespect. It is best to see these places when it is not crowded.