Marienkirche, Lübeck

This is a splendid *Backsteingotik church: immensely high with light flooding in though its tall windows. It started off as a Roman Catholic church, and was decorated with lovely frescoes.

In the early 16thcentury it became Lutheran, and the frescoes being anathema, were painted over. This must have been done many times over the centuries. Then came the allied bombings in 1942. The blast from these caused the paint to fall off, happily revealing the frescoes which are now being restored

*Backstein Gotik (brick gothic)

The burghers of the North German cities, seeing the wonderful gothic cathedrals in France and Flanders wanted to build something similar. Unfortunately there is no suitable stone in the far north of Germany; but there is plenty of clay, so the churches are built of brick. Unlike the small early English bricks, those of North Germany are quite chunky, larger than modern bricks. However, for very tall structures – and these churches are very tall – they are less stable than large blocks of stone. One is now aware of the fragility of these buildings which need iron braces to hold them together.

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