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medieval misericords misericord misericorde misericordes Miserere Misereres choir stalls mittelalterlichen Miserikordie Chorgestühl.  středověké miserikordie. miséricordes médiéval.  middeleeuwse misericords.  Misericordia misericordias.  Misericordia medievale
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The misericords and history of Cologne Cathedral,

Hohe Domkirche St. Peter und Maria.


Kölner Dom has 84, early 14th century misericords and twenty 19th century misericords.


Click to launch a description of the misericords of Cologne Cathedral

Please click on the thumbnails for larger images.

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Cologne

History of Kölner Dom.

There have been churches at the site of Kölner Dom since at least the end of the Roman era.  however, the earliest church that details are known about dates from 870 A.D.  This cathedral had both an altar at the east and west ends - the one at the west dedicated to St Peter, whilst the one to the east was to Mary.  This cathedral was demolished so that the new cathedral could be built.

The Gothic masterpiece that we see today, was started in 1248 and took until 1322 for the east end to be completed - it is worth noting that the misericords date from 1310 and were, therefore, in place before the cathedral was consecrated.  At this  point a temporary wall sealed off the western end of the east section, so that the cathedral could be used.

The misericords are a mixture of mythical beasts, and everyday human activity.  As would be expected of this period and location, the misericords do not have supporters.  When the rest of the history of Kölner Dom is considered, it is almost a miracle that the misericords exist at all.

Subsequent to the consecration of the choir, work continued on the nave, both of its aisles and the southern tower, however, in 1530 this work stopped - it appears that there was a lack of both money and interest.  By this time, the southern tower was complete up to the belfry level, but when work stopped, the massive crane, was left in place for the next 400 or so years!  This became a feature of Cologne’s skyline.  To protect what had been completed of the nave, so far, a “temporary” roof was built.  The people, were happy to let the cathedral stay as it was, except for the addition of rich decoration to the interior.

In 1794, French revolutionary soldiers entered Cologne - the Archbishop and chapter fled the city, leaving the cathedral to the mercy of the French troops.  For the next 7 years, Kölner Dom, was used for such purposes as wharehousing.

In 1801 Cologne Cathedral was re-consecrated.  It appears that the profane usage of the cathedral acted as a call to action for the people of Cologne - they demanded that the cathedral be finally completed.  So using a combination of public subscription (60%) and contributions from the Prussian treasury (40%), work was restarted in 1842.  Amazingly, the medieval plans had survived, and it was decided that these should be followed - however, it was also decided to used modern building techniques and materials where possible, for instance the roof trusses are of iron.  By 1864 the transept  facades and the triforium  had been completed.  both towers were finished by 1880 - the cathedral’s completion a mere 632 years after it’s foundation stone was laid - one has to wonder if this is some kind of record!

The second world war was not kind to the cathedral - hit by 14 aerial bombs.  However, the main fabric of the cathedral survived to stand like a beacon of hope above the flattened city.  In 1944 an emergency repair was carried out to the bas of the northwest tower, this however, used rubble from other bomb damaged buildings and was neither sound or attractive.  In June 1945 American soldiers used the cathedral as a rifle range - have soldiery changed that much since 1794?  

The majority of repairs were completed by 1956,  but the scar on the northwest tower was visible until the 1990’s when it was finally decided to restore it to its original condition.


The Cologne Cathedral website.

Click here for more German Misericords

Click here for more 14th century misericords

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Hohe Domkirche St. Peter und Maria Kölner Dom Deutsch mittelalterlichen Miserikordie misericord misericords misericorde misericordes Koln  stalls1.jpg
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Hohe Domkirche St. Peter und Maria Kölner Dom Deutsch mittelalterlichen Miserikordie misericord misericords misericorde misericordes Koln choir stalls.jpg
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Hohe Domkirche St. Peter und Maria Kölner Dom Deutsch mittelalterlichen Miserikordie misericord misericords misericorde misericordes Koln stalls.jpg
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