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St Mary's Cathedral and St Michael's Church at Hildesheim

St Mary's Cathedral and St Michael's Church at Hildesheim

St Michael's Church was built between 1010 and 1020 on a symmetrical plan with two apses that was characteristic of Ottonian Romanesque art in Old Saxony. Its interior, in particular the wooden ceiling and painted stucco-work, its famous bronze doors and the Bernward bronze column, are – together with the treasures of St Mary's Cathedral – of exceptional interest as examples of the Romanesque churches of the Holy Roman Empire.

Cathédrale Sainte-Marie et église Saint-Michel d'Hildesheim

L'église Saint-Michel a été bâtie de 1010 à 1020 selon un plan symétrique à deux absides, caractéristique de l'art roman ottonien en Vieille Saxe. Son décor intérieur, notamment son plafond de bois et ses stucs peints, de même que les trésors de la cathédrale Sainte-Marie, célèbre pour ses portes et sa colonne de bronze de Bernward, sont autant de témoignages du plus haut intérêt sur ce que furent les églises romanes du Saint Empire romain.

كاتدرائية القديسة مريم وكنيسة القديس ميخائيل في هايلديسهايم

تم تشييد كنيسة القديس ميخائيل بين العامين 1010و 1020بحسب نظام متناسق بصدرين للكنيسة وهي ميزة الفن الروماني الأتوني في ساكس القديمة. يُعتبر ديكورها الداخلي، ولا سيما السقف الخشبي بملاطه المدهون بالإضافة إلى كنوز كاتدرائية القديسة مريم المعروفة بأبوابها وعمودها البرونزي من برنفارد، مثالا حيّا عما كانت عليه الكنائس الرومانية في عهد الإمبراطورية الرومانية المسيحية.

source: UNESCO/ERI


圣米迦尔教堂建造于公元1010年至1020年间,严格遵循了对称的设计理念,两个对称的半圆形后殿是老撒克逊(Old Saxony)时期典型的奥图罗马式(Ottonian Romanesque)风格。教堂的内部装潢设计也是神圣罗马帝国的罗马式教堂风格,特别是木制天花板、粉刷的墙壁,以及有名的青铜门和伯那德青铜圆柱。圣玛丽大教堂的装饰也是这一风格。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Кафедральный собор Cв. Марии и церковь Св. Михаила в городе Хильдесхайм

Церковь Св. Михаила была построена между 1010 и 1020 гг. и имеет симметричный план с двумя апсидами, что было характерно для оттонианского этапа развития романского стиля в Старой Саксонии. Ее интерьер - деревянный потолок и расписанная штукатурная отделка, знаменитые бронзовые двери и бронзовая колонна Бернварда - наряду с сокровищами собора Cв. Марии представляют исключительный интерес как примеры романских церквей Священной Римской Империи.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Catedral de Santa María e iglesia de San Miguel de Hildesheim

La Iglesia de San Miguel fue construida entre 1010 y 1020 con arreglo a un trazado simétrico con dos ábsides, característico de las obras del estilo románico otoniano de Sajonia. Su techo de madera y estuco pintado, así como los tesoros de la catedral de Santa María, célebre por sus puertas y la columna de bronce de Bernward, constituyen un excepcional testimonio de las iglesias románicas del Sacro Imperio Romano Germánico.

source: UNESCO/ERI


source: NFUAJ

Dom van Sint Maria en Sint Michaëlskerk in Hildesheim

De Sint Michaëlskerk werd gebouwd tussen 1010 en 1020 volgens een symmetrisch ontwerp met twee apses, kenmerkend voor de Ottoonse romaanse kunst in het oude Saksen. Het interieur – met name het houten plafond en het geschilderde stucwerk, de beroemde bronzen deuren en de Bernward bronzen kolom – de eerste gietsels van deze grootte sinds de oudheid zijn van uitzonderlijk belang. Dat geldt ook voor de schatten van de dom van Sint Maria, waaronder de bronzen kroonluchter uit 1060 met een diameter van zes meter. Zowel de kerk als de dom gelden als voorbeelden van de romaanse kerken van het Heilige Roomse Rijk.

Source: unesco.nl

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St Mary's Cathedral and St Michael's Church at Hildesheim © Public Domain
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The ancient Benedictine abbey church of St Michael in Hildesheim, located in the north of Germany, is one of the key monuments of medieval art, built between 1010 and 1022 by Bernward, Bishop of Hildesheim. St Michael’s is one of the rare major constructions in Europe around the turn of the millennium which still conveys a unified impression of artistry, without having undergone any substantial mutilations or critical transformations in basic and detailed structures.

St Michael's Church was built on a symmetrical ground plan with two apses that was characteristic of Ottonian Romanesque art in Old Saxony. Its interior, in particular the wooden ceiling and painted stucco-work, together with the treasures of St Mary's Cathedral – in particular its famous bronze doors and the Bernward bronze column – make the property of exceptional interest as examples of the Romanesque churches of the Holy Roman Empire. The harmony of the interior structure of St Michael’s and its solid exterior is an exceptional achievement in architecture of the period. Of basilical layout with opposed apses, the church is characterised by its symmetrical design: the east and west choirs are each preceded by a transept which protrudes substantially from the side aisles; elegant circular turrets on the axis of the gable of both transept arms contrast with the silhouettes of the massive lantern towers located at the crossing. In the nave, the presence of square impost pillars alternating in an original rhythm with columns having cubic capitals creates a type of elevation which proved very successful in Ottonian and Romanesque art.

St Mary's Cathedral, rebuilt after the fire of 1046, still retains its original crypt. The nave arrangement, with the familiar alternation of two consecutive columns for every pillar, was modelled after that of St Michael's, but its proportions are more slender.

The Church of St Michael and the Cathedral of St Mary with its church treasure contain an exceptional series of elements of interior decoration that together are quite unique for the understanding of layouts used during the Romanesque era. The bronze doors of St Mary, dating back to 1015, represent the events from the book of Genesis and the life of Christ, and the bronze column of St Michael dating from around 1020, with its spiral decor inspired by Trajan's Column, depicts scenes from the New Testament. These two exceptional castings, the first ones of this size since antiquity, were commissioned by Bishop Bernward. Both are now preserved in the Cathedral of St Mary. Also of special significance are the corona of light of Bishop Hezilo and the baptismal fonts of gold-plated bronze of Bishop Conrad (ca 1225-1230) in the Cathedral. Lastly, St Michael's displays the painted stuccos of the choir screen and the amazing ceiling: 27.6 m long and 8.7 m wide, depicting the Tree of Jesse, which covers the nave. These two works were carried out after the canonisation of St Bernward in 1192 – the stuccos at the very end of the 12th century and the ceiling around 1130. The ceiling, with its 1300 pieces of wood, along with that of Zillis in Switzerland, is one of only two remaining examples of such an extremely vulnerable structure.

Criterion (i): The Bernward bronzes and the ceiling at St Michael's Church represent a unique artistic achievement.

Criterion (ii): St Michael's Church has exerted great influence on developments in medieval architecture.

Criterion (iii): St Mary's Cathedral and St Michael's Church of Hildesheim and their artistic treasures afford better and more immediate overall understanding than any other decoration in Romanesque churches in the Christian West.


As the churches themselves are located on elevated ground, the surrounding buildings are not overpowering, and do not significantly disturb the view to and from the churches in the urban landscape. Furthermore, the Medieval layout of the town is quite well conserved and corresponds to the period of construction of the property (11th and 12th centuries). St Mary´s Cathedral and St Michael’s Church contain all the elements necessary to express the Outstanding Universal Value. The property is of appropriate size, and all features and structures to convey its significance as exceptional examples of art and architecture of the Holy Roman Empire are present.


Despite the destruction that occurred during the Second World War, St Michael's Church remained intact up to the eaves although it has undergone major restoration. All of the important design elements can still be seen today in full and undiminished form. A centrepiece in the interior of the church is the wooden ceiling from the early 13th century, which was temporarily removed during the war and is unique worldwide. All of the other interior elements in St Mary’s Cathedral and St Michael's Church that are sustaining the property’s Outstanding Universal Value are in an equally authentic condition. St Mary´s Cathedral was almost completely destroyed in the Second World War, but many parts of the cloisters and the adjoining chapel remained undamaged, in particular the precious interior furnishings. All the movable fixtures and fittings were removed and brought into safety in time.

In the reconstruction after 1945 and in all later repairs and restorations, the primary aim has been to recreate the Medieval appearance of both large buildings according to the latest research.

Protection and management requirements

The laws and regulations of the Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Lower Saxony guarantee the consistent protection of St Mary's Cathedral and St Michael's Church at Hildesheim. They are listed monuments according to the Lower-Saxon Monument Protection Act. Building activities outside the property are regulated by paragraph 8 of the Monument Protection Act.

Furthermore, a buffer zone has been designated to ensure the continuous protection and sustained preservation of the important views and structural integrity of St Mary's Cathedral and St Michael's Church and their immediate surroundings. Lastly, paragraph 2 of the Monument Protection Act contains a special clause concerning the protection of World Heritage properties in Lower Saxony.

Conservation and construction issues are organised and managed in close cooperation among the owners, the State Office for Historic Monuments, the Ministry for Science and Culture and various scientific committees. The management system consists of a set of maintenance and conservation measures, which are yearly checked and regularly updated when required to ensure the protection of the property.

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