A Church in the Guise of a Dorian Temple

The church is part of the ensemble of the Ludwigslust Palace in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, just 40 kilometers south from Schwerin. The church is the most unexpected I have ever seen. The front or facade looks like a Dorian temple.

The church was once part of the palace and is today the church of the city Ludwigslust. You will notice the building immediately when you arrive at the palace. The church is facing the palace and is located some 500 meters away with a kind of little park in between.

The very unsusual church was built in order of Frederick II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (called also the Pious) in 1765 and was finished 5 years later. The architect Johann Joachim Busch created a masterpiece. The church is also the burial place of the duke and the duchess.

The front looks like a Dorian temple. The portikus is 39 meters long and 7 meters large. The six columns are 14 meters high and the frieze is highly decorated. The christogram on the top is 7 meters high and more than a thousand kilogram heavy. 4 apostles are staying also on the top of the church.

Before you enter the church, I recommend going around the building. You will be surprised what you see!

When you enter you will have the second surprise: it is an aisleless church with 8 columns on both sides which are only for decoration. The church itself is built in brick and very wide. Inside it is bright, full of light and has an unusual altar with two staircases on both sides and a huge painting in the back. Behind the painting, also unusual, there is the church organ.

It doesn’t stop with the unusualness though: most of the decoration is made of papier maché. Yes, it seems very strange but true. Also in the palace all the gold decoration and other are made out of papier machè and look like plaster. The painting is actually also papier machè, three-dimensional. Lift your nose and be amazed by a decorated ceiling as well! Here you will also notice the clock and maybe if you look at it for a second more you will also notice it has only one hand, the longer one. It indicates the hours only and is connected to the clock outside the church, also with one hand only. The clockwork regulates both.

When in front of the altar, turn and have a look at the beautiful loggia for the duke and family. It was the only part in the church that could be heated in winter-time. On the top of the loggia there is the balcony for the court orchestra.

In the middle of the church you can see the sarcophagus of the duke. The pulpit is not located at the side like in most churches but right in the middle of the altar.

The bell tower is outside the church in a different building.

This church is an amazing example how to create illusions. Already from outside it seems something very different and inside it continuous to surprise the visitor.

I recommend going immediately after the palace as the church could close before you can see it. The chaplain closes the doors when he thinks no visitor will come anymore. After the visit go back to the palace and into the coffee-shop to let the impressions sink in before you walk through the amazing park of the palace.

The whole ensemble needs a whole day to not be overwhelmed too much. It is one of the most beautiful examples of architecture and beauty of the past.

Ludwigslust, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern/Germany:

For more information:
If you want to see more pictures about Ludwigslust Palace
More about the region Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

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Pomp and Splendor in the Ludwigslust Palace

This summer I was exploring another palace in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern region in northeast Germany. Pomp and splendor on a high level, surrounded by an enormous park, a so-called palace garden and with a very unique church facing the palace. I would compare this with the Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam near Berlin.

One of the many various things I did this year was the visit in Ludwigslust. The day started by driving east with the goal of a coast town, changed already after 20 kilometers into ‘let’s go to Schwerin’ where is another palace and changed again then into Ludwigslust, south of Schwerin. Mainly because I have never been there. And for my sweet sweetie it was both the same: he didn’t know any of them. And for me it was a great surprise.

Ludwigslust is just about 40 kilometers south from Schwerin, half an hour drive through a very nice landscape with a lot of forests. We arrived in the little town around noon and found a parking space right in front of the very big palace.

The first thing I noticed was the cascade opposite to the enormous entrance of the building and more far away the Greek temple like church. All calling for long visits.

Ludwigslust once was just a hunting lodge for the duke Frederick II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin who had his main seat in the Schwerin palace. It was first built in 1724, so not that long ago, by Prince Christian Ludwig. 20 years later he became the reigning duke and changed the name from Klenow (the name of the area before) into Ludwig’s joy (Ludwigslust) and made it his main residence.

During the years of construction and of course later the place grew from a very little village to a town. Today there are still the housings of the people who worked for and in the palace along the way to the catholic church. The castle or palace was rebuilt between 1772 and 1776 to plans of Johann Joachim Busch in a late Baroque style. The E-shape is better visible from the back side. The duke liked clearly a mixture of old styles: Corinthian in the central blog, Ionic in the side wings, some Neoclassical style in the facade and a Doric portico. Brick and sandstone were used as construction material. The (40) statues on the roof give it an interesting look, like people are walking on the top of the palace.

We bought a ticket to visit the inside, the gardens and the church opposite.

One of the first rooms we saw was the golden hall (Goldener Saal). Beautiful, I liked the mirrors in which you could overview even more. Mirrors were often put in big halls to make them even bigger but also to multiply the candle light and make the room much brighter. Very impressive are the Corinthian columns, the very decorated ceiling and the wonderful wooden floor. To watch people dancing on the floor from the surrounding balconies must have been such a joy.

We walked through a lot of other rooms like the private ones of the duke and duchess.

Inside the palace there is also a restaurant with a terrace facing the gardens, a perfect place to rest after a walk through the amazing palace and enjoying the sunshine, before you walk over or to the church or through the huge (120 hectare) park.

When the last duke abdicated in 1918, the palace was used as a residence for the family. After 1945 it hosted various administrative offices and is today a museum, open to the public.

The cascade opposite to the entrance of the palace on the Schlossplatz (palace square) was originally built in wood and only later changed into sandstone. The water feature was built in the years 1780 to 1785 and was connected at the canal system of the palace gardens. During wintertime the water still flows and not seldom gets ice sculptures.

We enjoyed our stay very much. It was only half a day, we saw also the church and the gardens, but it should be a whole day. There is so much to see and enjoy, not to hurry through all of it. We didn’t visit the village at all.

Ludwigslust, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern/Germany:

For more information:
If you want to see more pictures about Ludwigslust Palace
More about the region Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

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Sandy views – Beach Impressions

Beach, beach, beach – I walked this summer a few times along the shore of an ocean or sea and enjoyed a little photography there. Here are some of my beach impressions, some are a little altered for fun.

Enjoy the photos!

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Against the Wind in Nordfriesland – Sankt Peter Ording

The little Spa Resort of Sankt Peter Ording on the Eiderstedt peninsula offers a great variety of nature and leisure. It is the only seaside resort in Germany that has a sulfur spring and the most overnight stays of Schleswig-Holstein. I have been there for some mud flat hiking.

We found a place to sleep in a little village nearby and a little outside the ‘huzzle buzzle’ of SPO, short version of Sankt Peter Ording. My purpose was mainly to do some mud flat hiking. Friends told me the best place to do so would be here. So most of the time we spent in the nature resorts but one afternoon we had also a walk through the little town.

We more happened in the center of the town because we were looking for some tourist information. We found it right at the market place, parked out car and walked over to the tourist information center. I would really recommend to go to some because they can give you good directions and what absolutely to see and what you maybe could skip.

Historically SPO is a conjunction of a few fishing villages. Sankt Peter was first mentioned in 1373 and was called then Ulstrup. Once there lived the Vikings. In the middle of two centuries ago the two villages Sankt Peter and Ording merged into one village.

The life was not always easy in the area. Dunes wandering with the strong winds that even for a long time parishioners had to shovel their way to the church. Planting a permanent vegetation helped a lot to stop the continuous sanding. In the ’70s of the 19th century the tourism started with the first hotel and is still a famous health resort for the high levels of aerosolized salts and iodines. I know that during the WWs people would send their children here for a better health. But also today it is a great place for people with hay-fever for example, no allergens are her. The air is good for heart, metabolism and blood circulation.

The stilt houses along the beaches – by the way the beach here is the largest in Europe with nearly two kilometers to walk before you actually can touch the water – are characteristic and are saving them from flooding during storms for example.

After getting more wisdom we just walked into the old center. I loved loved loved the little thatched houses, more cottage-like sometimes, and especially the front-gardens. They are always so full of flowers, oftentimes wild flowers, but always like English gardens or cottage gardens. A dream for all nature and flower lovers.

There is also (along the beaches) a very new part; one with hundreds of shops and restaurants. We had a look there as well and took a break with coffee and some snack sitting in a beach chair on the sidewalk of the main street.

We visited also the very small local museum which was very interesting. In the evening we were lucky to go for an organ concert in the main church of SPO.

We unfortunately had not enough time to see the Robbarium, a place for injured or ill seals. The lighthouse didn’t seem to me a must-see, maybe I am wrong with that. I think it is very nice you have hotspots along the beaches so you can surf in the internet even sitting in your private beach chair at the beach. The beach is a great sports ground for Kite-surf, Kite-buggy, Kite-sailing and Kite-flying. You see, the wind is the key-ingredient here. Did you ever hear about the against-the-wind-triathlon? It is an annual event here.

Sankt Peter Ording, Schleswig-Holstein/Germany:

For further information:
A little bit more about Sankt Peter Ording (in German)

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Ocean and Sea – The North Sea (National Park)

The North Sea between Scandinavia, England and the northern main land of Europe (roughly said) is the connection to the Atlantic Ocean. It has also a connection to the Baltic Sea by way of the Danish Skagen Odde opening.

I visited this summer the North at Sankt Peter Ording for some mud flat hiking. In the tourism center I read a few interesting things about the area and the North Sea. For example I never knew that it is one of the most altered coasts in the world even though I knew it is densely inhabited. It has a length of nearly a thousand kilometers and was damaged by over-fishing, dredging, dumping and agricultural and industrial runoff.

The name North Sea is common today in most of the languages but once was also called Frisian Sea (because along the south and east coast there were and still are the Frisians) meanwhile the Frisians called it West Sea.

It still has a great biodiversity but most of the animals have now a much declined population. There are many organizations trying to maintain at least what is still there. Imagine there were living once pelicans and flamingos along the southern shores. Birdwatching is very popular here. The Wadden Sea National Park – including 3 countries: Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands – helps to conserve the nature.

Historically the North Sea has seen the rise and fall of the Viking era, the Hanseatic League had a minor role in this area but the Dutch Golden Age (17th century) was based very much on the North Sea. Unfortunately in the world wars it was a battle ground and in the aftermath a lot of chemical weapons were dumped into the waters.

Today along the southern shores there are a lot of windmill parks, huge, seemingly endless you can see them out of the plane when flying from Hamburg to London or Dublin for example. Unfortunately they still drill for oil and gas as well. As recreation zone it offers of course long beaches, most of them of white, fine sand. But also bird-watching, recreational fishing, windsurfing (good strong winds nearly everywhere) and the mud flat hiking. There is a North Sea Trail going through 7 countries along the North Sea.

We just walked along the beach of Sankt Peter Ording and did a little bit mud flat hiking. But it is definitely different to other ocean or sea shores and on the German side it gives a great introduction to the culture of northern German people.

North Sea:

For more information:
If you want to know more about the North Sea Trail

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