Christian Centre of the Harz region- Halberstadt
The former medieval splendour of Halberstadt can be best admired from the distance where the steeples of the cathedral, the Church of our Lady and the Martini Church shape a visible town crown.
The Second World War and the subsequent period have unfortunately had disastrous impacts on the historic townscape. All the more impressive display the preserved buildings the importance of the former Episcopal city. Halberstadt became the seat of the bishop of the diocese in the eastern Christian world under the reign of Charlemagne in 804. The spiritual and temporal power of bishops was agglomerated on the cathedral square. Here, the Cathedral St. Stephanus and St. Sixtus (built between 1236/39 – 1491) stands on the spot of the Carolingian predecessor building. The noble overall effect of the interaction of the Northern French Gothic style running heavenwards, the rich architectural sculpture and glaring glass paintings make the cathedral a unique building in Germany.
This importance is emphasized by one of the greatest medieval church treasures of Europe. The Halberstadt Cathedral Treasury, consisting of altarpieces, world famous textile art, gold works, precious relics and many more, has increased in value owing to its tradition at the original destination. As a counterpart to the cathedral, the Church of our Lady, whose beginnings as a part of the former Augustinian Monastery date back to 1005, is located on the western side of the cathedral square. The church with its eye-catching four steeples keeps a historical art gem: the stuck choir screens with individually designed figures of Jesus, Mary and the Apostles are the best preserved north of the Alps. However, the town’s landmark is another building: the Martini Church, which is located outside the cathedral square; it is known for its two different and unique steeples. The architectural journey can be continued at will: the St. Johannis Church (1646-48) appears to be an unadorned half-timbered building, especially because the bell tower was built detached from the church, but inside the visitor is caught by the warmth of a room richly decorated with wood art. The Monastery St. Burchardi combines past, present and future.