Tower church

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All Saints' Church, Earls Barton , Northamptonshire , England, tower late 9th century

Tower churches represent a special architectural form of church buildings . They are described in Russian architecture as the most important variant of the tent roof church with the tower as the central element. In German literature, both terms are used synonymously in relation to the Russian churches. However, not every tent roof church has a tower as a central element, and not every tower church is a tent roof church.

Western Europe

In Western Europe, especially in Spain and England, there are tower churches with a stocky tower that encloses a small church hall, to which a choir is occasionally attached. The tower can also stand between two rectangular church rooms. Probably the oldest of these churches, the wall structure of which is considered to be a translation of a wooden structure into a stone structure, is in Earls Barton .


In Russia in particular , important tower churches such as the two-story Ascension Church in Kolomenskoye , the first Russian combined cross-domed and tent-roof church made of stone (1532), or the central Church of the Protection and Intercession of the Virgin Mary 's Cathedral were built are among the masterpieces of national architecture and have replaced the Byzantine building tradition with its compact, massive shapes and domes. The traditional Byzantine type of cross-domed church had already been replaced earlier in the north of Russia by slimmer forms, which, however, did not develop further in the spirit of Western European Gothic due to the Tatar invasions .

Ascension Church in Kolomenskoye

The Russian tower church of the 16th century is described as an intermediate form between the Asian and European cultural areas; its polygonal tent-shaped roof is traced back to the wooden churches of northern Russia or the steppe tents of the Tatars, which were integrated into the Russian Empire at the end of the 16th century after their khanates were broken up. The triangular gables or kokoschniki and round arches arranged in the form of scales are also counted among the Asian elements . In addition to St. Basil's Cathedral, the tower church in Kolomenskoye is one of the masterpieces of national architecture.

Russian tower church in Leipzig

The famous 34-meter-high, multi-tiered wooden Tikhvin Church in Torzhok in Tver Oblast (1717) has an open roof; the view up is not limited by a so-called "sky".


In Germany, the Russian Memorial Church, a tower church based on Russian models from the 16th century, was built in Leipzig . It was built in 1913 to commemorate the Russian soldiers who died in the Battle of Nations and modeled after the church in Kolomenskoye.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Nikolai Georgijewitsch Maschkowzew: History of Russian Art: From the Beginnings to the Present , Bertelsmann Lexikon-Verlag, 1975, p. 122
  2. ^ Alfred Eisfeld: A thousand years of neighborhood: Russia and the Germans , Bruckmann, 1988, p. 231.
  3. dtv-Atlas zur Baukunst , Vol. 2, Munich 1981, p. 382 f.
  4. ^ R. Wischnitzer: Oriental influences in Russian architecture , in: Eastern Europe , Vol. 1, No. 4/5 (January / February 1926), pp. 252-255.


  • Wiener Jahrbuch für Kulturgeschichte , Vols. 12–13, p. 237
  • Ernst Badstübner : Art monuments of the districts of Dresden, Karl Marx Stadt, Leipzig , Volume 1, Akademie-Verlag, Berlin (East) 1968
  • Hubert Fensen: See the city that shines. Old Russian architecture 1000–1700. History, symbolism, function. With recording by Klaus G. Beyer. Weinheim 1990, p. 279 ff.
  • Academy of Sciences of the USSR : Ideas of exact knowledge , Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, p. 159