St. Mary's Church, Mühlhausen

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St Mary's Church seen from the Raven's Tower

St. Mary's Church (Marienkirche) is a Gothic church in the Thuringian city of Mühlhausen. The church, the second largest in Thuringia after the Erfurt Cathedral, is considered a masterpiece of the Gothic style and was principally constructed in the 14th century. The church's central tower, at 86.7m high, is the highest in the state and is a significant feature of the city's skyline. St. Mary's was a centre for the 1525 German Peasants' War, since the revolutionary leader Thomas Müntzer was active as a pastor at the church.


St. Mary's Church

The church is a five-naved, Gothic hall church made out of local limestone. The central nave is twice as wide as the side aisles. On the western end of the Church are the three towers: two side towers, roughly 42 meters high, and the main, 86.7m high central tower. The towers are octagonal, built on a square base and foundation. On the eastern side are three choirs, a large central choir flanked by two smaller ones. Typical of the Gothic style, the central choir is high and narrow. The northern side choir was a baptismal chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas, while the sacristy was located under the southern one.

The interior is divided into four rows by five tall, narrow columns. In the Medieval period, the gallery housed a library (which was common for larger churches to have at the time). The transept is as wide as the central nave. The southern portal of the transept serves as the main entrance to the Church and is typical of the Gothic style.

The southern portal and main entrance to the church

Bach family[edit]

The organ

Johann Sebastian Bach was employed at Divi Blasii, Muhlhausen's other main church in 1707/8, and is known to have performed at St Mary's. His cantata Gott ist mein König was premiered in the church.[1]

Bach visited St Mary's in 1735, when his son Johann Gottfried Bernhard Bach was appointed as organist.


  1. ^ Melamed, Daniel R. (2001). "The Text of "Gott ist mein König" BWV 71". Bach. Riemenschneider Bach Institute. 32 (1): 1–16. JSTOR 41640484.  Accessed via JSTOR (subscription required)
  • Rolf Aulepp (1993), Mühlhäuser Museen, ed., "Neues aus dem alten Mühlhausen. Gräber und Bodenfunde in der Marienkirche. Die eingerillten Fische an der Marienkirche, zwei Glaubenssymbole?" (in German), Mühlhäuser Beiträge (Mühlhausen/Thr.: Mühlhäuser Druckhaus) Sonderheft 9: pp. 52-59 
  • Ernst Badstübner (1989) (in German), Das alte Mühlhausen. Kunstgeschichte einer mittelalterlichen Stadt, Leipzig: Koehler und Amelang, pp. 205, ISBN 3-7338-0055-9 
  • Georg Dehio (2003) (in German), Handbuch der deutschen Kunstdenkmäler Thüringen, München: Deutscher Kunstverlag, ISBN 3-422-03095-6 
  • Christa Richter (1990), "Die Marienkirche zu Mühlhausen" (in German), Mühlhäuser Beiträge (Mühlhausen/Thr.: Mühlhäuser Druckhaus) Sonderheft 7 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°12′37″N 10°27′18″E / 51.21028°N 10.45500°E / 51.21028; 10.45500