Station: [35] Fortified Church, Wildentierbachstr. 17 in Wildentierbach

F: That’s a massive fortification! The wall of the fortified church is still in one piece, though it used to be much higher. There’s even still a detention cell inside the gate tower. Would you like to know what’s hidden behind those thick walls? Then head on inside!

M: The courtyard, which is surrounded by walls on all sides, was where people sought shelter in times of war. They gathered around the church for protection from enemy attack.

F: This 13th century fortified church is a classic choir tower church. The tower is on the east side, above the choir. Before this church was built, a chapel from the Carolingian period stood on this site. It was built between 751 and 843 AD.

M: Unfortunately, you can only view the church from the outside. But we can give you a glimpse of the interior. Take a look at your screen.

F: There’s a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, which is rather unusual for a Protestant church.

M: It’s an almost life-size Madonna from the Gothic period. She stands on a crescent moon and holds the infant Jesus in the crook of one arm. This type of Marian sculpture is known as a “Madonna on the Crescent Moon”.

F: On your screen, the picture on the left shows the Madonna in this church. A similar Madonna, what you might call her "twin sister", stands in the Roman Catholic parish church of St. John the Evangelist in Niederstetten. That’s the one on the right. An itinerant artist probably carved both figures.

M: These days, the church is surrounded by a graveyard. This is where our local poet Gottlob Haag was laid to rest. His grave is on the right, just beyond the entrance. If you’d like to know more about Gottlob Haag, you might want to visit the KULT media library in Niederstetten, where a special stop is dedicated to him. Or simply select number 31 on our tour.

F: On the left-hand side of the cemetery, there’s another grave worth seeing – the 18th century tomb of the Habel family.

M: Johann Georg Habel had forged a career at the royal court of Prussia, where he’d risen to become the king's cellarer. Along with his brother, he founded the Habel wine tavern in 1779. It was at a prime address: on the grand boulevard Unter den Linden in Berlin.

F: Habel knew what was due to his rank: in honour of "the most diligent of fathers", the "very best of mothers" and the "sister who died too young", he built this tomb in the classical style. The inscription translates as:

M: “Consecrate this memorial to gratitude, to love and to sorrow in the name of six siblings still living. A faithful pair of brothers came from the far north and served the third King of Prussia, Berlin, the 29th of November, 1803."

Fotos: © Trüpschuch