Jakobskirche or St Jakobs Kirche is Rothenburg’s Historical Lutheran Church:
There are several churches in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, but the one that dominates is Jakobskirche or St Jakobs Church, the city’s main church. Jakobskirche is a historic Lutheran church, built in the High-Gothic style and the church is famous for its high altar and religious artworks.
St Jakobs Church
St Jakobs Church was completed in stages over a period of more than one hundred years from 1311-1484. Due to its long construction time, many different master craftsmen were involved in the building.
Its two towers are both over 55 metres tall, with the north tower slightly higher at 57.7 metres. A legend has it that the southern tower was built by the master himself whereas the leaner northern tower was built by his journeyman (a qualified apprentice). The master was said to have been so enraged by the superior workmanship of his journeyman that he threw himself off his tower and plunged to his death. I think in the modern-day context, a jealous master would have just dismissed his journeyman rather than take his own life, but then legends are just that … legends!
Some Outstanding Features of Jakobskirche
The interior of Jakobskirche is full of interesting features and artwork, including some of the oldest images of Rothenburg city. Jakobskirche was also on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela and there are some rare images in the church which show pilgrims stopping here.
If you are interested in religious art, you could easily spend a couple of hours in this church, but we were pressed for time and concentrated on the main features.
The most important of Jakobskirche features is the main altar. The Altar of the Twelve Apostles is one of the most important high altars in Germany. The central altarpiece shows Christ on the cross surrounded by four angels. Below from left to right are Mary, James (patron saint of Jakobskirche), Elizabeth, John, Leonard and Anthony.
To the left of the high altar is another important feature – a rich tabernacle niche built into the side wall of the choir.
The Holy Blood altarpiece in the west gallery is another famous piece of carving with various biblical scenes.
If you are in Rothenburg at 3 pm on Saturdays, you can join an English-language public tour of St Jacobs Church. The tour is free and you only have to pay a couple of Euros for the church entrance fee. No bookings are required, just meet in the front row. Duration is about 45 minutes.
See more photos of Jakobskirche at Travelsignposts St Jakobs Church photo gallery here and here.
91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
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