Schleswig Cathedral
Schleswig Cathedral ©Ostseefjord Schlei GmbH (Henrik Matzen)

The Cathedral of St. Peter in Schleswig – where a militant spirit can still be felt

Even from the outside, the Cathedral of St. Peter in Schleswig with its west tower, ridge turret and stair towers looks like no other. The first official mention of the brick cathedral dates back to 1134. Its construction was completed only in the 19th century, so it has been gifted with art treasures from various eras.

The citizens of Schleswig didn't beat around the bush: when the Danish king refused to seek refuge at Schleswig Cathedral during a civil war, they killed him on the spot. Bad for the king, good for the history books: the cathedral received its first official mention following the incident in 1134. The locals became militant once again just under 400 years later, when Luther visited Schleswig. And they were successful: the cathedral church's first priest was appointed, and it has been a Lutheran place of worship ever since.

The Cathedral of St. Peter is a much more peaceful place these days, thanks to St. Christopher, the patron saint of travellers, who can be found at the entrance to the southern choir by St. Peter's Door. None other than Hans Brüggemann carved this sculpture, and it is a taste of what visitors can find inside the Gothic hall church: the one-of-a-kind Brüggemann Altar. An impressive 12.60 metres high and carved from oak, it tells the story of the Passion of Jesus from the Bible. The ornate pulpit in the nave is also made of oak. The frescos in the Schwahl – the three-winged cloister – depict scenes from Jesus' life. Renaissance art par excellence can be found in the cenotaph of Frederick I, which stands on only six virtues, instead of the usual seven. The sarcophagus is empty, as Frederick's actual resting place in the cathedral is unknown. So it's true what they say: the Cathedral of St. Peter really is like no other.

Schleswig Cathedral

Opening hours: May to September: 9am to 5pm; October to April: 10am to 4pm

Entry: free

Nearest train station: Kiel

The Schwahl can be viewed by the public only during tours from mid-June to the end of August (for a fee); organ concerts with international artists are held in summer

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