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St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Michael's Church at Hildesheim*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Hildesheim Cathedral, view from the northwest
State Party  Germany
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iii
Reference 187
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1985  (9th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.
Western side

St. Mary's Cathedral (Dom St. Maria) in Hildesheim, Germany, is an important medieval Catholic cathedral, that has been on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list since 1985.

The cathedral church was built between 1010 and 1020 in Romanesque style. It follows a symmetrical plan with two apses, that is characteristic of Ottonic Romanesque architecture in Old Saxony. After renovations and extensions in the 11th, 12th and 14th centuries, the cathedral was completely destroyed during an air raid on 22 March 1945, and rebuilt from 1950 to 1960.

The cathedral is famous for its many works of art. These include:

  • The bronze doors, commissioned by Bishop Bernward (1015), with reliefs from the history of Adam and of Jesus Christ.
  • A bronze column 15 feet high (dating from 1020), adorned with reliefs from the life of Christ.
  • Two large wheel-shaped candelabra of the 11th century.
  • The sarcophagus of St Godehard.
  • St. Epiphanius’ Shrine (12th century).
  • A Baptismal Font, dating from 1225.

In the middle of the cathedral's courtyard stands the Gothic Anne's chapel (Annenkapelle), erected in 1321, which remained nearly undamaged during World War II. Also, climbing the wall of the cathedral's apse is the legendary 1000-year-old rosebush, which symbolizes the prosperity of the city of Hildesheim. According to the legend, as long as the bush flourishes, Hildesheim will not decline. In 1945 allied bombers destroyed the cathedral, yet the bush survived. Its roots remained unscathed beneath the rubble, and soon the bush was growing strong again.

The Cathedral Museum owns one of the most extensive collections of medieval treasures in Europe.

The 1000-year-old rosebush.
Branches of the 1000-year-old rosebush. The plates indicate the years in which the branches developed.
Cloister of the cathedral, built from 1060 to 1070
Saint Ann's Chapel, built in 1321

External links

Coordinates: 52°08′56″N 9°56′50″E / 52.14889°N 9.94722°E / 52.14889; 9.94722



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