Koenigslutter Imperial Cathedral – Koenigslutter

INTRODUCTION

With its high-rising towers looming over the northern edge of the Elm-mountains, the former St Peter and Paul Benedictine abbey church, the modern-day “Kaiserdom”, is visible for many miles around. At the time of its construction, in the middle of the 12 century, it was one of the biggest buildings in Northern Germany, and it remains an impressive, stately sight, even today. The cathedral was both an expression of the founder‘s deep faith and a symbol of his claim to power as Emperor. It’s of tremendous importance in the history of German Romanesque architecture and art.

HISTORY

The “Kaiserdom” was a donation from Lothar III of Supplinburg and his consort Richenza. Lothar ruled as King from 1125 to 1133, and from then until he died in 1137 as German-Roman Emperor. The church is the burial place for himself and his family. It was founded in 1135 as a Benedictine abbey church on the former ground of a canoness monastery and was developed in the 14th and 15th century into one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Northern Germany.
In the 15th century, the two west towers were completed and Gothic vaults replaced the wooden ceilings in the nave and side aisles.
In 1640 the nave vault collapsed and destroyed the medieval tomb. The rebuilding completed in 1695 is still in place today.
1708 a monument was placed above the graves of the imperial family with alabaster figures which depict Lothar III, Richenza, and their son-in-law Henry the Proud, who was the father of Henry the Lion.
The Monastery was finally dissolved in 1809.
As the wall paintings were finished in 1894, an organ was installed on the gallery which you can still enjoy today.

ARCHITECTURE AND FURNITURE

The building is a perfect example of the additive principle of Medieval church architecture: the massive west front, nave and transept, main and side choirs, apses and towers are distinguishable within the overall composition. The monumental vaulting, the awesome sculptures, but also the sumptuously-coloured 19th-century paintings are impressively beautiful.

The Imperial Cathedral is a three-aisled pillar basilica with a transept, a three-part choir and a west wing. The outstanding quality of the stonework of the eastern parts, the monumental vaults within and the extraordinary architectural sculptures, done by the famous Italian sculptor Nicolaus, are all expressions of the imperial demand that Lothar III made for the church that he founded.
The “Kaiserdom” is famous for his Lions Portal, which shows fearsome, snarling lions that are positioned on either side of the main door. One holds a human figure in its paws, the other holds a ram. Their backs support columns with artistically decorated leaf work capitals.
The frieze on the outside of the main apse, which depicts two hunting scenes, is an exceptionally fine example of Romanesque stone carving. The central panel is mysterious as it shows two rabbits tying up the hunter. Two of the original wings of the monastery‘s cloister remain intact. The double-aisled wing along the outside of the church has a unique beauty.
The interior is decorated with colourful paintings dating from the 19th century. Since their restoration, they can be seen in all their splendour. These together with the church furniture, which includes the altar, pews, lights, the pulpit and the organ, are an outstanding example of nineteenth-century historicism.

OPENING HOURS

April until October
9 am – 6 pm

November until March
9 am – 5 pm

Sightseeing not permitted during religious services and official events.

CONTACT

Stiftung Braunschweigischer Kulturbesitz und
Stadt Königslutter am Elm
Am Markt 1
38154 Königslutter am Elm
Phone: +49 (0)5353 912-202
Fax: +49 (0)5353 912-155

ENTRANCE FEES

Official Guided Tours (in German, 1 hour) – no advance booking
All Year: Sundays and Public Holidays 14.00
April to October: Saturdays 14.00
Tours may be restricted during official events.

Group tours by Arrangement (in German, 1 hour)
3,00 Euro per person (under 16 free)
2,50 Euro per person for groups above 20 people
Minimum 20,00 Euro per guided tour

Group tours by arrangement (in English, French, 1 hour)
5,00 Euro per person (under 16 free)
4,00 Euro per person for groups above 20 people
Minimum 40,00 Euro per guided tour

Theme tours by arrangement (in German, 1,5 hours)
5,00 Euro per person (under 16 free)
4,00 Euro per person for groups above 20 people
Minimum 40,00 Euro per guided tour

ROUTE SUGGESTIONS

  • A TRANSROMANICA short trip (2 days) in the Braunschweiger Land

TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICE

Am Markt 2
38154 Königslutter am Elm
Phone: +49 (0)5353 912-129 and+49 (0)5353 912-202
Mail: touristeninformation@koenigslutter.de
Website: www.kaiserdom-koenigslutter.de