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Limburg Cathedral

Limburg Cathedral stands on a limestone rock above the Old Town of Limburg on the Lahn, next to the castle of the same name. The cathedral is also called St. George’s Cathedral after its patron saint. It was built at the end of the 12th century and consecrated in 1235. The cathedral was built in four stages. The first stage encompassed the west façade, the south side aisle, the choir and the transept up to the matroneum (gallery). Then followed the addition of the inner pillars in the southern nave and the construction of the matroneum in the southern nave. In the fourth stage, which clearly shows Gothic influences, the north side of the transept and the choir matroneum were completed.
The cathedral has relatively small dimensions with a length of 54.5 m and a width of 35.4 m. The three-aisled basilica combines late Romanesque and early Gothic elements. Seven towers rise from the cathedral. On the western side, two of them form a twin-tower façade, which is common in the Rhineland. The crossing tower in the centre of the cathedral towers above all the others with a height of 66 m.
The west façade is divided into five levels and has been given eye-catching stylistic elements: a huge round window is surrounded by eight small rosettes. Numerous other elements such as round and pointed arch friezes, small pillars, windows and blind arches decorate the façade. The upper level of the north tower has Gothic tracery windows. Two bells hang in this tower. The main peal of seven bells is located in the south tower. The polychrome exterior painting of the cathedral was removed during restorations between 1872 and 1873 and replaced by a stone-coloured paint. The earlier colours were reconstructed between 1968 and 1972 and the cathedral got back its original exterior appearance.
The interior of Limburg Cathedral has four levels and is embellished with many details. The former baptistery is located in the right side aisle. The baptismal font rests on eight pillars and comes from the cathedral’s period of origin. The many frescoes in the cathedral interior are also from the same period. These were uncovered between 1975 and 1991 during restoration work. Due to their age, the frescoes are considered to be an important art treasure throughout Europe.
Due to its high location, one has a good view of the cathedral from everywhere in the town. All seven towers can be seen at the same time from the district of Brückenvorstadt to the east on the other side of the Lahn River. If one crosses the Lahn on the motorway bridge of the A3, one can even get a bird’s eye view of the cathedral. The cathedral with the Old Lahn Bridge in the foreground is a popular photo motif. In a survey of the Hesse Broadcasting Corporation in 2011, Limburg Cathedral was elected the most beautiful church in all Hesse. Limburg Cathedral was depicted on the 1000 D-Mark banknote from 1964 to 1992. In 1985 the Federal Post Office issued a stamp with the motif of the cathedral on it, and in 1989 the Universal Postal Union designated it to be the “most beautiful stamp in the world”.




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