St. Michael's

St. Michael’s is one of the most beautiful baroque churches in northern Germany. With its unmistakable copper roof, the monumental tower is Hamburg’s most famous landmark and conceals numerous artistic treasures. In this tour, we would like to draw your attention to the more significant works of art and some of the unique features in order to demonstrate the many sides of St Michael’s.

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Tour of the church

The church interior

The church interior measures 52 metres in length, 44 metres in width and 27 metres in height and can seat more than 2,500 people.

Adorned in white and gold, the church interior is bright and festive, accentuating the curving galleries, the gold-plated capitals of the Corinthian pillars and pilasters, the historical candelabras, the church pews made from teak and the colourful stained-glass windows.

 

Michael

During the 2011 Pentecost church service, St. Michael’s received a new Archangel Michael statue, which measures 1.5 metres in height and is believed to originate from the second half of the 17th century. The meticulously crafted statue used to belong to Ernst Barlach Haus and was restored at the St. Jacob's restoration workshop in 2009. Despite its small size, the statue remains visible from afar thanks to its vibrant colours.

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Senate Pew

A unique seating arrangement also demonstrates the extraordinary significance of St Michael’s church for Hamburg residents: in the front section of neo-baroque pews, one row of pews on each side of the wide central aisle features unique decorations. The ends of the senate pew on the northern side are adorned with the Hamburg coat of arms.

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Pew of the church committee

Opposite the senate pew, this similarly decorated pew was created for the church council and dignitaries. The pew of the church committee is adorned with the image of Archangel Michael fighting the dragon.

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Chapel with Ascension Figures

Inaugurated during renovation work in 2009, the chapel was designed to be a room of peacefulness and reflection inside the church, where people can steal away for a moment of prayer, even during events.

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Offering Box

Ernst Georg Sonnin, who is the architect of the second large-scale St Michael’s church and buried in the vaulted crypt, donated the offering box to the church in 1763. The offering box is adorned with the scene of Archangel Michael defeating the dragon.

Churches have had offering boxes for a very long time but, after the Reformation, the money they were used to collect no longer went to the clergy, but rather the needy of the parish.

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Pulpit

The pulpit extends into the church interior to facilitate preaching and is unique in that it ‘interrupts’ the lateral symmetry of the church interior. Anyone who wants to be heard and seen by everyone during the service has always chosen the best location in terms of both acoustics and visibility. Inspired by the original pulpit, it was crafted out of heavy marble by sculptor Otto Lessing from Dresden in 1910, following the devastating fire. It was designed to look like a rounded chalice and features a magnificent staircase. While Lessing took Sonnin’s pulpit design into account, he still managed to create a work of art that clearly reflects the neo-baroque and art nouveau influences of the time.

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Celebration altar

In October 2010, the celebration altar was placed in the former position of the baptismal font, forming the centre of the altar room.

Supported by twelve pillars, the new altar features an altar top made from Italian marble with an embedded cross of bog oak, and is surrounded by a gold-coloured lattice. Thanks to the new celebration altar, which is located eight metres closer to the congregation than the old altar, the pastor no longer has to turn his back to the people during communion.

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Baptismal font

Made from white marble, the baptismal font was crafted in Livorno in 1763 and donated by Hamburg merchants who lived there at that time. Livorno has one of the most important harbours in Italy. In addition to trade, particularly with the countries of the Levant and the Maghreb, artistic craftsmanship flourished there in the 18th century.

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The altar and the retable

The eye-catching altar is 20 metres tall and was built from costly marble in 1910. The altar features three sections illustrating key scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. The central image portrays the Resurrection and, below it, a relief depicts the Last Supper. Above the central image is Jesus on the cross.

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Bank account for donations

Hauptkirche St. Michaelis
IBAN: DE49 20050550 1226 1252 25
BIC: HASPADEHHXXX
Bank: Hamburger Sparkasse

Contact

Hauptkirche St. Michaelis zu Hamburg
Englische Planke 1
20459 Hamburg
Tel.: +49 (0)40 376 780
Fax: +49 (0)40 3767 8310
Email: infost-michaelisde

Opening Times

November to April
Daily from 10.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

May to October
Daily from 9.00 a.m. to 7.30 p.m.