"St Jakobs" St. Jakob's Church Tip by leics

  Arms and cubes
by leics
  • Arms and cubes - Rothenburg ob der Tauber
      Arms and cubes
    by leics
  • Church interior - Rothenburg ob der Tauber
      Church interior
    by leics
  • Tabernacle - Rothenburg ob der Tauber
    by leics
  • Rediscovered Medieval wall-paintings - Rothenburg ob der Tauber
      Rediscovered Medieval wall-paintings
    by leics
  • Zwolfbotenaltar - Rothenburg ob der Tauber
    by leics

You will almost certainly visit this lovely church (its exterior was being heavily retored in July 2009), if only because of its famous 'Heilige-Blut-Altar' by Tilman Reimenschneider (see tip below).

It is one of the churches on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. St Jakob is actually St James, in English, and the saint's grave is in Santiago de Compostela.

But it is worth exploring the church interior. Building started in 1311 and the church was completed by the late 1400s, being consecrated in 1485.

The altar within the church itself, the Zwofbotenaltar (Twelve Apostles Altar) dates from 1466, and is a hugely complex and rather beautiful piece of carving. High at the top you can see a painting of Rothenburg market place as it was in around 1466.

At the side of this altar is a stone Tabernacle, dating from the 14th century. At one time this was a place of sanctuary......anyone sought by the law was entitled to claim 'sanctuary' in such places (they exist in Medieval English churches too) and could not be arrested which in the church. However, they could not leave the church either....so not as good a proposition as it might seem, although it did provide some time for thinking, planning and hoping that the situation would change for the better!

The stained glass windows in the east chancel are also Medieval (it is good that bomb damage inflicted on the town in 1945 did not affect them).

There are late Medieval carved pews, and numerous paintings and sculptures around the church.

I always look at graveslabs and tombstones. They can tell you much about both costume and about how peole's minds worked at the time they were created. Iwas fascinated by the two cube-holding arms on the memorial slab in the photo. I've never seen this anywhere else, so presumably it is the coat of arms of a local family.........but why the cubes?

Address: Klostergasse
Directions: Open every day April - Oct 9-5.15, Jan-March (& November) 10-12 and 2-4. Different openiong times during December, when the Christmas market is on. Small entrance fee.
Website: http://www.rothenburgtauber-evangelisch.de/jakobskirche/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 12, 2009
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