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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