Ratzeburg Cathedral is one of the oldest brick churches in northern Germany. The brickwork is exposed, making it a very vivid basilica and a cathedral of simple beauty, with an opulent interior and the spirit of days gone by when the first Protestant preacher paved the way for a new era here...
In 1566, Georg Usler became the first minister of Ratzeburg Cathedral after its conversion to Protestantism, around 300 years after the start of construction of the cathedral, which was founded and made an episcopal church by Henry the Lion. Visitors admiring the pulpit and its relief would be forgiven for thinking that Usler still delivers his sermons there today.
Ratzeburg Cathedral with its cloister and monastic buildings sits atop the island city like a fortress. It is almost fully intact and one of the few late Romantic sites still in existence in Europe. It boasts an opulent interior, including a magnificent Renaissance-style pulpit and a carved winged altar from the late Gothic period with artistically painted tableaus on the back, which visitors would never be able to guess from the outside. The early Baroque high altar, the Gothic sedilia with its intricate carvings and the choir stalls – the oldest in all of northern Germany, preserved in its original form – are also unique. The late Romanesque triumphal crucifix with statues of Mary and John under the entrance arch to the transept dominates the entire church. It presides over the room and the human path of the Romanesque church – out of the darkness and into the light – symbolised by the pillars which are connected to form an archway. Those who surround themselves with this special religious aura may be able to find their own path here.
Opening hours: May to September: 10am to 6pm; October to April: 10am to 4pm (closed on Mondays)
Nearest train station: Lübeck
For more information (in German) on the "Experience the church – a discovery with all five senses" tour (for a fee), visit:
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