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Essen, Germany - 21st June 2008

By: Apperveilchen

We paid a short visit to the cathedral in Essen today.
This is outside in the courtyard. Which is my starsign?
It was built and used for most of its time by a religious female community and only became a cathedral when the Ruhrarea got its own bishop in 1958. Bishop Altfrid of Hildesheim founded it in 850 as a counterpart to the (monk's) monastery in Werden (now another part of Essen) for girls and women of the Saxon nobility who were to pray for the souls of the dead. It was always very to extremely exclusive and in the 15th century only women of the highest nobility were allowed to join the 'Stift'. They didn't become nuns or live monasterial life but had a duty of daily prayers in memoriam and lived in different monasterial buildings or castles and reigned over their lands (including the city).  The women could leave the Stift at any time to return to their families of to get married.
The 'Fürstliche Stift Essen' became one of the most powerful and influential religious institutions in Europe in the early and high middleages and it's leaders became some of the most powerful women of that time. Examples are the abesses Mathilde (971–1011), Sophia (1012-1039) and Theophanu (1039–1058) who were closely related to the reigning kings and emperors. The 'Stift' was given rich lands, treasures and privileges. The treasury can be visited. The central piece is the oldest known golden madonna that's displayed in on of the side chapels. You can see a be3tter picture and learn more here: http://www.dom-essen.de/

This is the 'Old Synagogue'. Originally it was opened as the 'New Synagogue' for Essen not many years before it was lit on fire on 9. Nov 1938 along with so many other Jewish places in Germany. After 1945 it stood as a ruin for a long time. Today it's a memorial, a meeting place for Jewish culture and has an exhibition about Jews in Essen during the Nazi regime.
And a fountain next to it. The style looks like it's from the monumentalist times of the 20th century.

* Posted Jun 29, 2008, 12:17 pm Last edited Jun 29, 2008, 12:18 pm by Apperveilchen [Quote] Go to the top of the page


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