Papal Basilica - St Peter's Cathedral

St. Peter's Cathedral Fritzlar

St. Peter's Cathedral Fritzlar

The wood from the Donar Oak felled by Boniface in the year 723 served to build a first church on the site which was called by Boniface Frideslar. This church was dedicated to St. Peter and evolved, together with the attendant Benedictine Monastery, into the mission centre for Hesse, Thuringia and Saxony. In the years 732/33, the wooden building was followed by a first stone church that also withstood the attack of the Saxons in the year 774.

After the destruction of Fritzlar in 1079, a flat-roofed basilica with three naves and one of the first real two-tower facades north of the River Main was built. In the 12th and 13th century reconstruction of the nave resulted in the vaulting of the cathedral. The "Paradise", whose porch influences the westwork today, was built between 1230 and 1250. Construction of the cloisters took place at the beginning of the 14th century. The side chapels built in subsequent centuries, blend harmoniously into the old structure. However, the mighty building is dominated by the stylistic elements of the Romanesque and the Gothic. As a result, the cathedral in Fritzlar is one of the most wonderful examples for the "transitional period" between the two architectural styles in Germany.

The first point of interest in the interior are the crypts which are part of the oldest sections of the collegiate church. The late-gothic tomb of St. Wigbert, a romanesque representation of St. Peter as well as a gothic Trinity group are all of particular note. The chancel with its romanesque triumphal cross is impressive, as is the late-gothic, limestone tabernacle. A pietà from the 14th century made from lime wood deserves particular attention as do the mural paintings in the transept. Objects which are of the most artistic and liturgical importance to the Fritzlar church can be be found in the cathedral museums treasury.

St. Peter's Cathedral in Fritzlar received the honorary title as a papal basilica minor in 2004, and can be considered one of the most important buildings of romanesque and gothic architecture in the central German region. As part of their visit or guided tour, visitors also have access to the crypts with the famous early-gothic Mercy Seat and cloisters as well as to the neighbouring cathedral treasury.

PLEASE NOTE:

St. Peter's Cathedral is being renovated at the moment. We therefore ask you to respect that access is limited to certain areas. Work is presently being done in the nave (church services are still taking place at the weekends - see below), however, the crypts, cloisters and cathedral museum are still open to visitors. Please see the following chapter for details of the current viewing times.

Church services in St. Peter's Cathedral: Evensong on Saturdays at 6.30 p.m. as well as on Sundays: Mass at 9.30 a.m. and Vespers at 6 p.m. For further information: Katholischen Dompfarramt: Tel. 0 56 22 - 9999-0.

Cathedral museum with cathedral treasury and library
Here, the most valuable exhibits to be found are those of the goldsmiths from the 11th - 15th centuries, this includes the so-called Heinrichskreuz (Henry Cross), a romanesque processional cross from around 1020, the oldest known monstrance from around 1320, a vast number of chalices and ostensoria dating from the 12th century. (Access via the cathedral and through the adjoining cloisters to the south)

Opening times cathedral museum:
Fri and Sat:10 a.m. - midday and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Sun:2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Guided tours around the cathedral museum for groups by prior arrangement: Kath. Dompfarramt: Tel. 0 56 22 - 9999-0.

Prices:
Adults€ 2,50
School children/students€ 1,00

Medieval City Fortifications and Grauer Turm (Grey Tower)

Grey Tower

The countless numbers of defence towers and the almost completely intact city walls built to fortify the city, all serve to demonstrate the importance Fritzlar had as a medieval trading town. City walls and towers are often destroyed and rebuilt again. Today, there are only nine of the erstwhile 23 defence towers still standing. At a height of 38 metres, the Grauer Turm is the largest standing urban defence tower in Germany. A magnificent view across the rooftops of Fritzlar's old town can be seen from its top. It was first mentioned as a "turris magna" (great tower) in the year 1274. Extensive renovations, particularly towards the end of the 19th century, saved the former historical building. Dungeons can still be found below ground which can only be accessed through a "fear hole". Since 1541, the prison can also be reached through a door on the city side. First floor: The so-called Torture Floor with exhibition on witch-hunting in Fritzlar, stocks, pillory and "fear hole" (entrance to the dungeons). Fourth floor: So-called Boniface Floor: 1:1 plaster model of the Boniface monument (artist Ubbo Enninga) and information on missionary work according to Boniface in the North-Hesse region.

Opening times:
April - October9 a.m. - midday and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Admittance:€ 0.45 per person

Minorite Church (Evangelical Parish Church)

After the Fritzlar cathedral, the Minorite church can be regarded as the most important ecclesiastical building in Fritzlar. Only ten years after the death of the founder of the Franciscan order, Francis of Assisi, the Friars Minor (fratres minores) also came to the town of Fritzlar, they established a house in 1236 and had already erected a gothic double-naved hall church by the first third of the 14th century.

On entering, the impression visitors gain from the church is of a clear, architectural design flooded with light. The extremely deep choir which is typical for monastery churches also houses a baroque Nepomuk altar dating from the year 1735.
Both the outside and the interior of the church have a number of tombstone epitaphs which have survived - the oldest dating from between 1575 and 1609. They were composed for Lutheran families, identifiable by the names of family members engraved below the cross.
The Minorite church was last renovated in 1982, after which a new organ was installed on the rear west wall which has valuable pipes from previous organs in the church in its interior.

Sunday church services: 10 a.m.

Opening times: (excluding church services):
Saturdays 10.30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Sundays after the service until 11.30 a.m.
Additional opening times may be arranged with the verger:
Tel. 01 72 / 5 68 59 56. Otherwise the key can be obtained against a deposit when "Jodler’s  Einkaufsstübchens" (opposite the church) is open.

 

Kapelle St. Brigida (St. Bridget's Chapel)

To the west of Fritzlar lies Büraberg, a prominent mountain spur in the Edertal. On top of the mountain plateau, stands the Brigidenkirche with its early-Frankish foundations, which was the episcopal church founded by Boniface and the Hesse bishopric of Büraburg until the death of the first bishop Witta (742 - 746).

The chapel numbers amongst the oldest sacred buildings to the north of the Alps and its foundation walls date back to the middle of the 6th century. The Büraberg is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can find preserved excavations and information boards on the history of the church and castle.

There is a magnificent panoramic view across the northerly Hessengau, the core tribal land of the Chatti (Hesse) who were converted to Christianity by Boniface.

Visits and guided tours on request:
Tourist Information Office Fritzlar or Sister Zita: Tel. 01 78 / 6 21 47 21

Approach:
Possible from Fritzlar-Ungedanken or Fritzlar-Rothhelmshausen. Parking available at the archaeological site and chapel.

Hiking tip:: Delightful route hiking on the Büraberg from Fritzlar along the Mühlengrabenpfad to the Wehr (with resting places, picnic benches), the path leads directly along the Stations of the Cross (signposted) which is still used for processions on the Sunday before Ascension Day today.

Town Hall (Germany's Oldest Official Building)

"Praetorium frideslariensis" - Fritzlar Official Building - first documented use of the town hall was with these words in 1109. Which makes the Fritzlar Town Hall the oldest official building in Germany. It was built as an administrative seat for the Archbishop of Mainz who came into possession of Fritzlar towards the end of the eleventh century. The town hall was completely renovated between 1960 and 1964 and extended on its eastward side through integration with a Curia, the residential building of a former canon. During the renovation, burn marks were found which indicated that the building was destroyed by fire in the first half of the 15th century. The house was extended during reconstruction and probably completed in the year 1441. During reconstruction, the old "stone house" was then given a gothic half-timbered structure embellished with gable and corner turrets. A hall running the length of the ground floor was also added.

Until 1839, the south facade of the venerable building had for centuries been adorned with three turrets attached to the gabled roof. The uppermost turret on the gable peak bore the citizen's bell which was rung, for example, to call out an alarm. These three turrets were again reconstructed in 2009 to mark the 900-year anniversary.

Züschen Megalithic Tomb

This grave was created in the 4th/3rd century B.C. and is a 20 m long and 3.5 m wide tomb-chamber sunk into the ground and constructed with large, roughly rectangular, sandstone slabs. Each long wall consists of twelve stones (one stone on the north side is missing), the narrow walls consist of a single slab each. The north-easterly terminal slab has a circular opening of 50 cm in diameter at its centre (door hole stone) and separates a small open ante-room (length 2.5 m), the floor of which is densely trampled mud, from the tomb chamber proper (internal dimensions 16.5 x 2.5 m).

Approach:
From Fritzlar-Lohne or Fritzlar-Züschen onto the L 3218.
Car park is signposted, can be reached from there a few minutes walk away.

The megalithic tomb is well worth a walk from Fritzlar-Züschen itself.

 
 
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