"St. Jakob's Church" St. Jakob's Church Tip by nicolaitan
St. Jakob's Church, Rothenburg ob der Tauber: 34 reviews and 91 photos
Rothenburg's largest church was built between 1311 and 1471, consecrated in 1485, and Lutheran since 1544. It is dedicated to St. Jakob ( James in English ), the patron saint of merchants and pilgrims, depicted traditionally with a staff and the St. James scallop on his head. A traditional statue stands at the entrance ( image 2 ).The interior is rather spartan - I thought at first perhaps not to detract from the magnificent altars and stained glass windows but actually due to a cleansing of frippery in the 19th Century by Romantic purists. The simple high vaulted ceiling and the abundant windows make the interior bright and open.
An unusual architectural feature is an expansion of the church westward over the Klingenstrasse - it is in this area where the famed Altar of the Blood is housed ( image 3 ).
The stained glass windows of St. Jakob's are quite beautiful with rich deep colors. Behind the high altar, 3 sets of windows measure 56 feet in height. These are difficult to see raised from the floor but depict on the left the life of the Virgin Mary, in the center, the life of Christ, and on the right Redemption through the Sacraments. These date to the late 14th Century, artists uncertain.
The following tips will detail some ( but hardly all) of the remarkable treasures within.
St. James was one of the first disciples, the brother of John the Evangelist. His preaching took him predominantly to Spain, but a return to Jerusalem in 44 AD was fatal - he was beheaded by King Herod. The return of his relics to Spain was by miraculous events. After his execution, angels placed his body and relics in an unmanned rudderless boat which travelled to Spain unattended. These moved miraculously to Compostela. More likely, of course, his disciples had something to do with this, but miracles do live on. As a result, Santiago de Compostela is now the third most important Catholic city after Rome and Jerusalem. Rothenburg was a major stop for pilgrims of the Middle Ages and Renaissance en route to Spain.
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