Felsenkirche (Idar-Oberstein)

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Idar-Oberstein rock church

The Felsenkirche is a Protestant church in an exposed location in Idar-Oberstein in Rhineland-Palatinate and the city's landmark.


On the foundations of an older cave castle , Wirich IV von Daun-Oberstein had the Idar-Oberstein rock church built between 1482 and 1484. A rock wall and Bosselstein Castle tower above the church . Below are the houses of the Oberstein district. Due to its location and its widely visible presence, the church has become the symbol of the city of Idar-Oberstein. To enter the interior of the church, one has to go through a tunnel dug into the rock in 1980/81.

The patronage of the Felsenkirche has not been established with certainty, but documents point to St. Walburga as the namesake. From the Reformation until 1964 the Felsenkirche was the Evangelical Parish Church of Oberstein.

The exposed location repeatedly led to considerable damage from falling rocks, which in 1742 and 1858 led to far-reaching structural changes to the church. Work in the years 1927 to 1929 brought about another major change in the building fabric and the furnishings, with extensive moisture damage being removed as part of a thorough renovation. With another renovation in 1981, the interior was again fundamentally redesigned and numerous pieces of equipment were removed.

Of the remaining furnishings, the winged altar from the 14th century with the Passion of Christ should be emphasized. The work comes from the master of the Oberstein Altarpiece .


A legend has grown up around the edification:

Around the middle of the eleventh century, the brothers Wyrich and Emich von Oberstein lived at Bosselstein Castle. Both loved Bertha von Lichtenburg and, when Wyrich found out about his younger brother's engagement, he threw Emich out of the window of the castle. Marked by his grave guilt, Wyrich confessed the deed to an abbot . As atonement , he was to build a chapel with his own hands on the spot where his brother had died. When the construction was completed, Wyrich asked God for a token of forgiveness. A spring rose from the rock that still flows today. At the inauguration of the chapel, Wyrich sank dead in front of the abbot at the altar.

Works of art

  • The epitaph of a knight in full armor shows Philip II von Daun-Oberstein , father of the builder of the rock church
  • The Sebastian picture shows the family of Count Sebastian von Daun-Oberstein-Falkenstein ; the painting was created around 1750
  • The pictures of the apostles are attached to the gallery parapet. They were created between the 17th and 18th centuries and depict the apostles in a rural setting.
  • Fragments of late Gothic glass windows : the original windows were badly damaged in a rock fall in 1742. There are only fragments that still convey the splendor of the original windows
  • A baptismal font (around 1500), a late Gothic baptismal bowl as well as other medieval and modern individual pieces


The church is usually open to visitors from mid-March to mid-November and is used occasionally for services, weddings and Christmas mass on Christmas Eve. Due to urgent, extensive rock securing work, however, it must remain completely closed from autumn 2018 to the end of 2020.


View of the organ

The organ was built in 2001 by the organ builder Rainer Müller (Merxheim). The organ case dates from 1756 and was built by the brothers Johann Nikolaus and Joh. Philipp Stumm from Rhaunen-Sulzbach. The layout of today's organ works is stylistically based on the organ building tradition of the Stumm family of organs. The purely mechanical instrument has 21 stops on two manuals and a pedal.

I. Manual C-g 3
Bourdon 16 ′
Principal 8th'
Covered 8th'
Octave 4 ′
Reed flute 4 ′
Fifth 2 23
Octave 2 ′
Mixture 1 ′ 3f. 1'
Trumpet 8th'
Paddock I / pedal
II. Manual C-g 3
Hollow flute 8th'
Transverse flute 8 ′ disc.
Gamba 8th'
Open flute 4 ′
Fifth flute 2 23
flute 2 ′
Third flute 1 35
oboe 8th'
Paddock II / I
Paddock II / pedal
Pedal C – f 1
Sub bass 16 ′
Octavbass 8th'
Choral bass 4 ′
Trombone bass 16 ′


Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Risk of rockfall and rockfall in the Felsenkirche in Idar-Oberstein - State Office for Geology and Mining of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate
  2. Prospectus of the Evangelical Church Community Oberstein
  3. Felsenkirche closed
  4. Landmarks in danger? Rock Church in Idar-Oberstein closed - SWR Rhineland-Palatinate
  5. Information about the organ on the Felsenkirche website

Web links

Commons : Felsenkirche (Idar-Oberstein)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 49 ° 42 '19.89 "  N , 7 ° 19' 43.94"  O