Brandenburg Cathedral – cathedral church, island oasis and great art

The Bishopric of Brandenburg was founded on Cathedral Island in 948 and the present-day cathedral's foundation stone was laid in 1165. Precisely 850 years later, to mark the cathedral's anniversary in 2015, the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul – along with its enclosure, curiae and ancillary buildings – once again set the stage for endorsing a great idea when it hosted the "Brandenburg Freedom Award" ceremony.

These ideals of freedom had little to do with Otto I's idea of founding a bishopric to convert the Slavs back in 948. The emperor failed, but the bishopric was still founded around 200 years later. Construction of the present-day cathedral began in 1165. It was originally a Romanesque building, as can be seen in the arcade pillars in the nave and crypt. When it was completed 300 years later, visitors could see Gothic influences in the church interior.

It is a holy building of simple beauty, and a worthy setting for the art treasures that it houses, for example the sepulchral stele discovered in the Petri Chapel in the 12th century, which is one of the earliest pieces of evidence of Christianity in Brandenburg. Or the late 15th century Altar of the Holy Cross in the main aisle and the Lehnin Altar in the central aisle. The organ, which dates back to 1725, was created by Joachim Wagner and will impress music lovers as it is one of the most famous, and almost completely original, Baroque organs in Germany. The Cathedral Museum has a hidden gem: the Brandenburg Lenten veil, which tells Jesus' life story on a piece of cloth dating back to 1290. Other textiles, liturgical garments, Gothic altarpieces, books and sculptures can also be seen in the cathedral.

Brandenburg Cathedral Foundation

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm; Sunday, 12pm to 4pm

Entry: free

Nearest train station: Berlin

Cathedral Museum: free; for special tours of the organ designed by Joachim Wagner, summer music events, concerts, exhibitions and special dates, visit:

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