Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Catholic Bamberg: The Upper Parish Church

Concluding our series on Catholic Bamberg, we visit the Upper Parish Church (Obere Pfarre, dedicated to Our Lady; the Lower Parish Church St. Martin was torn down in 1805 to make room for the new city square in honour of the new sovereign, the Bavarian king). It is the only (architecturally) purely Gothic church in Bamberg. The builiding of the church was begun in 1338, and the nave was dedicated in 1387. In 1392, the late Gothic choir was begun, which, as can be appreciated from the exterior pictures, is considerably higher than the nave. It was finished by 1450 at the latest. The baroque additions to the interior date from the second decade of the 18th century.

This is how you see the church approaching it from below, with the splendid late-Gothic French cathedral-type choir and its ambulatory, modelled after St. Sebladus in Nuremberg (as always, click on pictures to enlarge):

From the South side:

Two views from higher up I found on the internet to give you an idea of the situation, the second one shows Bamberg Cathedral behind the Upper Parish Church, and behind the Cathedral, if you can make it out, St. Michael's Abbey:

Walking along the North side towards the entrance on the West side:

The west façade:

To the lower left, notice the little annex with the scene from the Mount of Olives (Ölberg, from 1502, although the sculptures are probably older); such outdoor representations of this scene are not uncommon:

The interior:

The wonderful high altar which was donated by Prince Bishop Lothar Franz v. Schönborn. At the centre is a much venerated image of Our Lady from ca. 1250:

The entrance to the ambulatory from the Northern aisle:

At the apex of the ambulatory is the splendid late Gothic (15th c.) tabernacle (such larger medieval tabernacles, seperate from an altar, are called in German Sakramentshaus, "Sacrament House"):

Since this is the last post of the Bamberg series, I include two pictures of the Jesuit church St. Martin which I wanted to share, although they did not warrant a post of their own. The church was built in only seven years from 1686 to 1693. It was the first work of the Dientzenhofers in Franconia, and is inspired by the typus of the Jesuit church as it existed in Rome and Bavaria. It was originally dedicated to the Divine Infant, but the patrocinium of the old Lower Parish church (here comes my pretext for including it in this post) was transferred to it when the latter was torn down in 1805 as mentioned above:

The Bamberg series:

A Piece of Heaven on Earth: Bamberg

The Church of St. Getreu

House Shrines, Wayside Crosses and Easter Wells

Banz Abbey

St. Michael's Abbey


Bamberg Cathedral

The Vestments of Pope Clement II and Other Treasures from the Diocesan Museum

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