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The Quedlinburg Castle-Hill

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Situated on a sandstone cliff, the more than a thousand year old Romanesque collegiate church St. Servatius towers as an imposing landmark over the city. The flat-ceiling basilica, dedicated in the year 1129, was preceded by earlier structures. The monumental sandstone edifice manifests not only in its facade but also in the ornamentation of its interior walls and capitals strong Lombardic influences. The Gothic form of the choir erected over the crypt can only be seen from the outside of the building. In the interior of the church, the attempt was made to recreate an impression of purely Romanesque architecture through the addition of an apsis wall. The interior space is articulated in accordance with the lower Saxon alternation of columns and pillars as a principle of construction. This progression of columns and pillars divides the nave from the aisles. In the west, the emperor’s loge is the demarcation defining secular and consecrated space within in the church. In the east, a stairway leads up to the choir and to the vault rooms where the famous collection of the Quedlinburg church treasures have been on display since 1993. In the crypt beneath the choir are the royal graves of the first German King, Henry the1st, and his wife Mathilde.

Facing the church is a building that houses the former residential, representational and the functional rooms of the abbesses and personnel of the Quedlinburg ladies’ collegiate chapter. This structure underwent its final architectural transformation into a Renaissance castle in the 16th and 17th centuries and now houses the castle museum under the direction of the Quedlinburg municipal museums.

The Quedlinburg castle-hill is in danger. Not only are the sandstone cliff and along with it the famous Romanesque church St. Servatius endangered. Numerous half-timbered houses in this city designated since 1994 as a UNESCO world heritage are also at risk.

On numerous occasions in the history of the town there have been static problems with the church. Already in 1571, the south wall of the St. Servatius transept was endangered, and in 1708 the south wall of the long house had to be partially reconstructed.

The central problems derive from the sandstone cliff, which is in desolate condition as the result of the number of structures that have accumulated on it over the years. Some buildings extend even beyond the actual sandstone plateau of the hill. Ever larger constructions were erected on top of the cultural debris of the past, and no adequate provisions were made to divert water from the castle-hill.

At the present, a comprehensive investigation is being conducted to provide a basis for further preservation efforts for the castle-hill. Approximately two million Euros -funding from the European Union, the German federal government and the state government- are available for this survey and immediate initiation of the most urgent measures required, further contributions to the estimated 15 million Euros necessary for securing the hill are foreseen as support from the federal government and the state of Saxony Anhalt. The amount expected of the city, however, as its own contribution, cannot be met. Every fourth citizen in a population of 23.600 inhabitants is jobless and the city coffers are empty. For this reason, the state of Saxony Anhalt and the German Foundation for Monument Protection have offered to provide financial assistance to the city for the preservation of the world heritage.

Whoever should wish to participate along with the German Foundation for Monument Protection in the preservation and restoration of the Quedlinburg castle hill can do so with a contribution to the account of the Foundation:

Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz
Commerzbank Bonn, BLZ 380 400 07; Konto Nr. 30555 55
Contribution Designation: \"340292 Quedlinburg Schlossberg\"

Our heartfelt appreciation in advance for your support.

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