Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Jong-Soung Kimm)


The Abbey on Burgberg of Quedlinburg (pronounced Kvedlinbuerg) was founded in 936 by Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, at the request of his mother Queen Mathilda (later canonized as Saint Mathilda) in honor of Mathilda’s late husband and Otto’s father, King Heinrich I (Henry the Fowler) for unmarried daughters of nobility. Until its secularization in 1802, it was referred to as Reichsstift (Imperial Abbey) Quedlinburg. The abbey church is dedicated to St. Servatius of Tongeren (present day Netherlands) and St. Denis. Construction of the basilica plan church on the remains of no less than three earlier churches began sometime before 997, and was completed in 1021. The church was rebuilt, after a fire in 1070 caused a severe damage, to almost the present form we would assume, and rededicated in 1129 in the presence of Lothar III.

Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Saxon-Anhalt) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Saxon-Anhalt) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

The abbey church, one of the masterpieces of the Ottonian Romanesque architecture, is composed of the nave, two aisles, transepts at the eastern end, and the raised choir above the crypt, the resting place of both Henry the Fowler and Mathilda. Both the north and south transepts also have shallow apsidal chapels. The view of the nave conveys a light-filled, airy space defined on either side by processions of precisely constructed niedersachsischer Stutzenwechsel, the pier – two column alternations. The capitals on columns, in contrast to the creative fantasies we observe on column capitals of southern Europe, show discipline and geometrical rigor while chiselling relatively shallow motifs of animals, flowers or purely geometrical design. The shape of the capitals comes across more as dosserets alone without the capitals of classical orders underneath.

Nave, Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Saxon-Anhalt) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

Nave, Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Saxon-Anhalt) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

The view of the nave elevation scheme shows the harmoniously proportioned piers, columns and arches resting on the dosseret-like capitals. Relatively generous clerestory windows let in abundance of light onto the beige-toned sandstone masonry, and transform the nave interior into a solemn, yet blissful space of meditation.

Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Saxon-Anhalt) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Saxon-Anhalt) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

The view of the north aisle toward the nave, the raised choir and the southern nave wall shows off the high caliber of the master mason and the stone cutters well. Creativity is never lacking, but rather abundantly present, albeit within the intellectual and visual discipline. The column in foreground clearly shows an entasis.

North side aisle, Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Saxon-Anhalt) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

North side aisle, Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Saxon-Anhalt) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

The view from the choir toward the west shows a two level narthex. The entrance is located to the right (north side) of the narthex, as the west wall of the church abuts the abbey itself.

View of narthex, Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Saxon-Anhalt) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

View of narthex, Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Saxon-Anhalt) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

The view of the north aisle looking toward the west shows the access to the north tower and the upper narthex.

North side aisle, Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Saxon-Anhalt) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

North side aisle, Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Saxon-Anhalt) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

The south transept chapel is a picture of restraint itself, with a modest altar with a sculpture of Pieta.

South transept chapel, Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Saxon-Anhalt) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

South transept chapel, Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Saxon-Anhalt) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

The entire city of Quedlinburg is a UNESCO world cultural heritage site. In addition to the abbey church of St. Servatius, which alone would deserve the UNESCO recognition, there are over 1300 half-timber houses on cobble stone streets winding around the large Marktplatz situated at the center of the historic core.

Location: 51.785772° 11.137293°

✜ We are delighted to republish this article from Jong-Soung Kimm on our Via Lucis site. For more information on Mr. Kimm, please see this link. ✜

2 responses to “Abbey Church of St. Servatius, Quedlinburg (Jong-Soung Kimm)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s