Saturday, December 12, 2015

2014 Germany Trip - Holy Trinity Church (Dreifaltigkeitskirche)

Location: Speyer, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


I wandered around Speyer aimlessly after completing my tour in and around Speyer Cathedral. It was grand and imposing but it somehow lacked the kind of impact I felt in other churches I loved in my trip. In my stroll around the alleyway nearby the cathedral, I stumbled upon this church building that was partially hidden from Maximilianstraße. With a curiosity that could kill more than a cat, I took a step in to see what this building held within.

Baroque exterior

Exterior close up shot

Although the Holy Trinity Church (Dreifaltigkeitskirche) was medium in size, my attention was immediately drawn to the fading fresco painted on the ceiling upon entering. I could not make out the meaning of the scenes floating above me so I can only assume logically that those were biblical scenes. Despite the lack of vividness, it was still an awe-inspiring image that more than one visitor (however little there were) to gawk at the ceiling with a gaping mouth while turning around to take everything in.

The interior architecture was the main reason why everyone's attention was immediately directed to the fresco upon entering the Holy Trinity Church. The building in itself was not tall, merely occupying the same height as a modest 3-story building, but its interior was laid out opera style - an open expanse with just corridors running the length of each story, providing an uninterrupted view of the nave, altar and fresco as any large church building would. Its size also provided an advantage - with a lower ceiling, the fresco was closer to the visitor and the impact stronger.

Awesome fresco

Close up fresco shot

The organ above the altar

Holy Trinity Church is one of five Protestant churches in Speyer, and its origin is tinged with a sad tone. When Speyer was destroyed during the Palatinate War of Succession, many of the residents found sanctuary in the St Catherine's Church in Frankfurt. Upon their return to Speyer, the residents requested Johann Peter Graber, an architect to the Imperial Court of the Electoral Palatinate, to construct the church with St Catherine's as model. The church was built from 1701 to 1717, making it the oldest among the five protestant churches.

Unlike other churches where stone was the main choice of construction, wood was rather predominant in Holy Trinity Church. The altar and chancery were decked out in beautiful wood carvings, and with some gilding, made them more noticeable. Another interesting point which I noticed was that the organ was placed above the altar, an arrangement that was a first for me. I also read online that my observation about the interior layout being opera-styled was correct - this place has exceptional acoustics and was beloved as a place for concerts.

Altar and organ shot

Gilded figures on altar

Looking back towards the entrance

Gilding

Gilding close up shot

Corner

Another fresco shot

The Holy Trinity Church is protected under the Hague Convention for Protection of Cultural Property in the Even of Armed Conflict (that is quite a mouthful), making it one of the most important buildings in Speyer. The reasons that were listed could be something that appeals more to historian and artists, like saying that it is a jewel of Baroque architecture, but my reasons for agreeing that it should be protected is simple - I like the way its fresco impressed me.








Environment:         A partially hidden church with great fresco
Suitable for:            History buffs, art lovers
Visit worthiness:       7/10 
Historical value:        3.0/5.0 
Architectural value:  4.0/5.0
Photographic value: 4.5/5.0
Landmark value:       3.0/5.0

Entrance Fee:                  free
Opening Hours:             (Nov - Mar) 9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m. 
                                               (Spr - Oct)    9.00 a.m. - 7.00 p.m. 
                                               (All year)     12.00 p.m. - 5.00 p.m.
                                               Closed on 1 Jan, Shrove Tuesday, 24, 25 and 31 Dec
Best Moment to Visit: Anytime but check the opening hours carefully, the church is not opened for the whole day
Length of Visit:              1 hour

Website:                   http://www.dreifaltigkeit-speyer.de/

Contact:                    +49 (0) 6232 629958
E-mail:                      -
Address:                   Große Himmelsgasse 4, 67346 Speyer, Germany




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