The city of Naumburg an der Saale, in the south of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, has one of the most important cathedral buildings of the European High Middle Ages with its St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral. Its architectural structure shows the stylistic transition from late Romanesque to early Gothic. The west choir (construction started around 1250) reflects changes in religious practice and the appearance of science and nature in the visual arts. The Naumburg Cathedral is best known for the work of the so-called Naumburg Master, who created the twelve larger-than-life donor figures of the west choir, including Uta von Naumburg, and the west lettner with the Passion reliefs.
Masterpiece of human creativity: the building history of Naumburg Cathedral began in 1028 with the relocation of the diocese from Zeitz to Naumburg. A first early Romanesque cathedral was built, which was probably consecrated in 1042 and was a predecessor of today’s cathedral. Since this first building probably no longer met the representational needs of the bishop and his clergy, a new construction of the cathedral was started from around 1210. Only parts of the foundation and the High Romanesque crypt from 1160/70 were taken over from the previous building. The three-part crypt under the east choir is thus the oldest surviving part of the cathedral.
The construction of the cathedral took over a century. During this time, the change took place from the simple, more spacious Romanesque architecture to the slender, up-and-coming Gothic style. This change can be clearly seen in the various stages of construction of the church: The new building was started in the east. In 1242 the nave and transept, the east choir, the two east towers and the substructures for the west towers were completed. They refer to the late Romanesque. The west choir with its polygonal end, on the other hand, is Gothic.
The Naumburg Cathedral is also world-famous for the work of the Naumburg master. The architect and stone sculptor, unknown by name, had already created his first major work with the Westlettner in Mainz Cathedral. In the middle of the 13th century he came to Naumburg, where he was responsible for the planning, furnishing and execution of the west choir. For this purpose, he created the larger-than-life figures of the twelve donors, who impress with their incomparable closeness to reality and their individual expression. The donor figure of the Margravine Uta in particular still fascinates today’s visitors with her aloof, aristocratic charisma.
In addition, the Naumburg master created the reliefs of the Westlettner, which show the Passion of Christ. Here, too, there is an extraordinary, realistic representation of local plants, herbs and tree leaves, among other things, in the selected image program. The sculptures of the Naumburg master are therefore among the highlights of figurative sculpture in Europe.
The extensive cathedral garden, which was only redesigned in 2011, also belongs to the architectural ensemble, which has been awarded by UNESCO. The almost one hectare garden combines old ponds, bastions of the medieval immunity wall and the gardens of the former canons.
Naumburg Cathedral: facts
|The double-choir, three-aisled pillar basilica with its four towers and its outstanding sculptures by the Naumburg master is a visible expression of the strengthened medieval church.
|important evidence of medieval art and architecture showing the stylistic transition from late Romanesque to early Gothic
Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey (World Heritage)
The Carolingian Westwerk and the Civitas Corvey are on the outskirts of Höxter on the Weser. They were built between 822 and 885 AD in a largely intact rural area to this day.
The Carolingian abbey church (848 consecrated) was a three-aisled basilica with a square hall in the West, it was 873 – 885 as Westwerk expanded (expansion in the 12th century). After being destroyed in the Thirty Years’ War, the church except the west part was demolished and in 1667 – rebuilt as 83 spacious Baroque hall church with Gothic-style cross vaults. The westwork is the only building from the Carolingian era that is still complete, while the original imperial abbey has only been preserved and partially exposed.
Corvey’s westwork shows the most important architectural expressions of the Carolingian era. The architectural stylistic devices and forms illustrate the role that the imperial monasteries in the Franconian Empire played in securing territorial control and administration as well as in spreading Christianity and Carolingian culture and politics in Europe.
Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey: Facts
|Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey
|Between 873 and 885 the western part of the monastery basilica of Corvey was built with two facade towers and a central tower; colored wall paintings, mythological figures related to antiquity
|Germany, see commit4fitness
|Höxter on the Weser
|Westwork as the only largely completely preserved building from the Carolingian era; Connection of Carolingian architecture with ancient models