Station: [7] Architectural History of the Church

You’re now standing in front of the portal of the castle church. In 1451, Count Bernhard the Second initially built a small chapel with three altars, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Saint George and Saint Anne respectively. His son, Otto the Second, considered a larger church more appropriate for the county. So he started building the present church, which was consecrated no later than 1501. 

Braunfels Castle Church has one unusual feature: it was built above the route from the town to the castle. If you’ve come from the market place, you’ve already passed beneath the church. One reason for the odd choice of location may have been the lack of space on the basalt peak. But it also had an important advantage. The massive church superstructure provided substantial protection from enemy assault to both the gate and the wall. Moreover, one might count on a certain level of divine protection, since the church was a sacred place. Or one could at least hope that a sense of awe would deter the enemy from destroying it. From surviving embrasures on the south side of the wall we know that the church was an integral part of the fortifications.

Of course, the counts and princes attended the castle church. They took a direct route from the castle to their private gallery. That passage leads across the archway and is still visible on your right. 

Now, let’s look around the church. Please feel free to enter!

All depictions: © Schloss Braunfels