Hildesheim is best known for its churches, particularly the two magnificent UNESCO-listed ones, Mariendom and St. Michael’s. This contemporary city is also steeped in history and culture, which can be experienced in its fascinating museums. Here, we bring to you the treasures of Hildesheim for you to explore.
Mariendom, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is among the oldest episcopal churches in the country. Behind the stone facade of this structure are housed the famous bronze castings of the Christ Column and the Bernward Doors, examples of pure artistic genius. The cathedral also preserves what is perhaps the most significant piece of religious art in the world, the Hildesheim Cathedral Treasury.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of St. Michael’s Church is an immensely significant piece of medieval architecture. The stunning ceiling painting of the church that depicts the genealogy of Christ is the central attraction of the church. The beautiful interior is further enhanced by the light that floods the church from all directions. As legend goes, a blind girl got her eyesight back at the tomb of Bishop Bernward, the builder of the church, who rests in the crypt of St. Michael’s.
This archeological museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in natural history, applied arts, graphics, German history, ethnology, or archeology. The fascinating collection of Egyptian and Peruvian art at Roemer- and Pelizaeus-Museum is practically unrivaled in Europe. Additionally, the museum boasts a massive collection of Chinese porcelain.
The world’s most ancient rose bush has loyally clung to the walls of Mariendom courtyard for around 1,200 years. During World War II, the church was badly damaged, and the bush was razed to the ground, but the way it sprang back to life is nothing short of a miracle. Every spring and summer, the bush bursts into pale pink roses.
Butchers’ Guildhall (Knochenhaueramtshaus), looming over the historic market square of Hildesheim, is among the tallest half-timbered structures in Germany. This 16th-century gothic building is where the affluent butchers’ guild used to meet in the Middle Ages, while the thick-walled, cool cellar was used to store meat. If you visit in November or December, check out the magical Christmas market in front of the Guildhall.
The Lutheran church of St. Andreas is yet another religious structure that Hildesheim is rightly proud of. This gothic church with romanesque westwork adds ample medieval charm to Hildesheim’s skyline, and its soaring tower gives visitors a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful city and beyond.
The significance of St. Godehard Church, built from 1133 to 1172, lies in the fact that it can be admired today in its original condition, as it escaped damage during World War II. This elegant romanesque structure was built in honor of St. Godehard of Hildesheim.
The current Rathaus (city hall) was built in 1911, and was designed to resemble the destroyed original building as closely as possible. While the building is worth checking out because of its beautiful architecture, an added bonus is that it hosts interesting exhibitions and events for the public on a regular basis.