Bernburg Castle Church

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Castle church from the outside (north side)
Castle church north view

The baroque building of the St. Aegidien Castle Church is one of the striking buildings in the city of Bernburg (Saale) . At the same time, the externally still visible components of the Romanesque predecessor church - the crossing tower and the apse used as a princely crypt - are reminiscent of a perhaps 1000-year building, church and community history at this place.


Based on the individual radicals Romanesque architecture as the apse , transept and the remains of the transept, the system can be dated to the 12th century. 14 C dates during an excavation in the area of ​​the cemetery of the Aegidienkirche in the summer of 2011 provided evidence of the oldest use around 1200 and the most recent occupancy around 1600.

Strong similarities with the masonry and the facade structure of the Bernburg Castle Chapel St. Pankratius allow the conclusion that both structures were erected at the same time. The mention of an “ecclesia nostre in Berneburg” by Heinrich I in 1228 can with high probability be related to the Aegidienkirche and distinguishes it as an Ascanian church.

While the St. Pankratius castle chapel was only accessible to those people who were also allowed to enter the Bernburg core castle, St. Aegidien served as the parish church of the castle district and the outer bailey.

In 1375 the parish church of St. Aegidien is mentioned for the first time with its patronage. It is clear from various sources that the pastor of St. Aegidienkirche presumably had the prominent position of Archipresbyter.

Until the superintendent was relocated to St. Mary's Church in the Old Town in 1537, the Aegidienkirche, as a princely court parish church, formed the center of an early Ascanian "regional church" in the Bernburg area that transcended the diocese.

The tower was raised in 1608 and provided with a tent roof and a lantern. St. Aegidien became a castle church in 1623 and the priest became court preacher. The apse was rebuilt in 1625 under Christian I to the princely crypt of the Bernburg Ascanians .

The old church was enlarged on the evening side in 1751. At the beginning of March, the nave of the old Romanesque church was broken down to under the window and rebuilt as a baroque church. On December 3, 1752 the consecration of the new church took place.

The church interior was redesigned in 1888. The princely chair was torn down and the galleries reduced. The chancel was redesigned by adding a conche . The high altar with crucifix and the wall painting are based on the neo-Gothic style of the Lutheran style of the 19th century. The company Gustav Kuntzsch , Institute for Church Art , Wernigerode , created the altar, the pulpit, the organ case, the stalls, the galleries and other furnishings as well as the furnishings for the sacristy and the baptistery; she was also responsible for painting. The mural was changed again in 1902.

In 1936 there was again extensive work on the church. These included the crypt, windows and exterior renovations. The fronts of the main aisle and the transepts as well as the bell tower and the lantern towers were renovated.

The interior was redesigned again in 1970. All neo-Gothic fittings were removed and largely destroyed, the number of benches reduced, the conche closed, the altar wall plastered and a tile mosaic cross inserted.

The old confessional room was converted into a winter church in 1986. Since the roof structure was infested with dry rot, it had to be renovated from 1992 to 1996. The roof has been re-covered and the exterior of the church has been refurbished.

The bench heating was renewed in 2005 and at the same time a new font made of Bernburg salt was installed. In 2008 the apse was reopened and the tile mosaic cross was secured and stored. The apse was re-plastered and the entire altar wall was painterly repaired and the crucifix that had been kept in the north entrance was re-attached.

The art project

Interior of the castle church with a view of the altar

The redesign of the church began in May 2013. Together with the sacred objects of the church, the organ with its 3200 pipes also had to be cleared out. The church was then scaffolded from floor to ceiling and repainted. With the completion of the ceiling, the actual art project began, which was designed by the Halle artist Moritz Götze from the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art : In July 2013, orange clouds and yellow enamel stars were mounted on the blue ceiling color .

A year later, in July 2014, enamels were also installed on the south wall. The redesign of the north wall followed in December of the same year. The redesign of the room shell was completed in December 2015 with the artistic redesign of the altar wall.

The new altar was inaugurated during the festive service on Easter Sunday 2016.

A good three years have passed from the beginning of the project to its end, in which the church has fundamentally changed. Photo documentation for all stages of the art project can be found on the church's website:


Organ opposite the altar

The organ , which was built in 1914 by the organ building company Fleischer und Kindermann (Dessau) and rearranged by Hermann Lahmann (Leipzig) from 1956 to 1959, “sits enthroned” on the second gallery . The instrument has 42 registers on three manuals and a pedal . The organ has a completely pneumatic action. She has the following disposition :

I main work C–

1. Drone 16 ′
2. Principal 8th'
3. Coarse 8th'
4th Gemshorn 8th'
5. octave 4 ′
6th Coupling flute 4 ′
7th Fifth 2 23
8th. octave 2 ′
9. third 1 35
10. Mixture V 2 ′
11. Zimbel IV 12
12. bassoon 16 ′
13. Trumpet 8th'
II Swell C–
14th Pommer 16 ′
15th octave 8th'
16. Tube bare 8th'
17th Salizional 8th'
18th Principal 4 ′
19th Night horn 4 ′
20th Nasat 2 23
21st Principal 2 ′
22nd Sif flute 1'
23. Sharp IV 1 13
24. oboe 8th'
III breastwork C–
25th Copula 8th'
26th Quintad 8th'
27. Prestant 4 '
28. Reed flute 4 '
29 Forest flute 2 '
30th Larigot 1 23
31. Sesquialtera II 45 ′ + 23
32. Zimbel IV 23
33. Krummhorn 8th'
Pedal C–
34. Principal bass 16 '
35. Sub-bass 16 '
36. Octave bass 8th'
37. Bass flute 8th'
38. Chorale bass 4 '
39. Backset V 4 '
40. Sordun 32 '
41. trombone 16 '
42. Trumpet 8th'


References and footnotes

  1. Ulf Petzschmann: A Carolingian-Ottonian fortification and the cemetery of the St. Aegidiengemeinde on the castle hill of Bernburg . In: Communications from the Association for Anhalt Regional Studies . Vol. 21 (2012), pp. 144-146.
  2. Codex diplomaticus Anhaltinus (CDA II), ed. by Otto von Heinemann , Dessau 1875, No. 95.
  3. Olaf Böhlk: In the footsteps of the Gothic. The city of Bernburg in the Middle Ages. Companion volume to the colloquium city's history in the tension - Bernburgs way to early modern residence of the Prince of Anhalt . Bernburg (Saale) 2011, p. 70.
  4. ^ Ulrich Stevens : Entrances and galleries in castle chapels . Conference report on room structures and furnishings in castles in the Middle Ages and early modern times , Krems 2010, p. 5.
  5. Codex diplomaticus Anhaltinus (CDA IV), ed. by Otto von Heinemann, Dessau 1879, no.460.
  6. Olaf Böhlk: In the footsteps of the Gothic. The city of Bernburg in the Middle Ages. Accompanying volume to the Colloquium Urban History in the Tension Field - Bernburg's path to the early modern residence of the Princes of Anhalt . Bernburg (Saale) 2011, p. 73.
  7. ^ Hermann Suhle: Contributions to the parish chronicle of Anhalt . In: Mitteilungen des Verein für Anhaltische Geschichte und Altertumskunde (1904) H. 9. P. 399–446, P. 400.
  8. ^ Soproni Múzeum, Sopron ( Hungary ), Inventory No. P. 2425 E 251 (Storno Könyvtár): Gustav Kuntzsch folder , not paged.
  9. Only the (altar) crucifix and the carved pictures of the pulpit are preserved.
  10. ↑ Image documentation of the art project
  11. Information on the organ of the castle church

Web links

Commons : Schlosskirche Bernburg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 51 ° 47 ′ 38 "  N , 11 ° 44 ′ 18"  E