The Church with the Tomb of Johann Sebastian Bach:
Leipzig’s Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church) is famous as the place where Johann Sebastian Bach worked as the choirmaster from 1723. Here too is the resting place of the master composer. Although Bach’s remains were originally buried at Johanneskirche, his tomb now lies in the Nave of Thomaskirche.
Johanneskirche was destroyed during World War II and Bach’s remains were moved to Thomaskirche in 1950. Thomaskirche itself did not escape the Allied bombing of Leipzig. Its tower was damaged and required repairs. The roof of the church above the rib vaulted ceiling is one of the steepest in Germany.
Built between 1482-1496 in magnificent late-Gothic architecture, Thomaskirche is a Lutheran church. Although the current altar was only installed in 1993, the altar itself is the former Gothic altar of the Paulinerkirche, the university church of Leipzig University which was destroyed in 1968 by the Communist authorities.
Famous visitors to Thomaskirche include Martin Luther in May 1539 when he gave a sermon introducing the Reformation to Leipzig, Mozart played the organ here in May 1789 and Richard Wagner was baptized here in August 1813.
The church was used to store munitions by Napoleon’s troops in 1806 and during the Battle of Leipzig (Battle of Nations) St. Thomas was used as a military hospital.
After 100 years of neglect, Thomaskirche benefited from a total restoration after the reunification of the two Germanys in 1990. The badly needed repairs were completed on July 28th, 2000 in time to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death. During this time St. Thomas Church also received the new Bach-Organ.
Thomaskirche’s choir, the Thomanerchor, is one of the oldest and most famous boys’ choirs in Germany. Founded in 1212, it is headed by the Thomaskantor, an office that has been held by many prominent composers and musicians, including Bach from 1723 until his death in 1750. Today, the choir still sings on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons. In the summer months, you can attend organ concerts here as well as at St. Nicholas.
Fans of the master composer will most certainly want to make a visit to Bach’s tomb on any visit to Leipzig.Your Turn: Do you have any advice you would like to share? What tips would you like to add? Please comment below.