Two outstanding examples of religious architecture number among the UNESCO World Heritage sites: St. Mary's Cathedral (Cathedral of the Assumption) and St. Michael's Church. In addition to St. Mary's Cathedral and the Cathedral treasury there is St. Michael's, one of the most stunning early Romanesque churches in Germany, which also preserves a unique ensemble of medieval interior art. Joined by a common history, the two neighbouring churches of Hildesheim present a wealth of Romanesque design and decoration that visitors are unlikely to find anywhere else. Visitors are shown the way to the sites by the Route of the Roses: way markers in the form of white rose petals painted onto the streets.
St. Michael's Church
St. Michael's Church (St. Michaelis-Kirche) was built as a monastery church, or Minster, under Bishop Bernward from 1010 to 1022 and was finally completed and officially consecrated by Bishop Godehard in 1033. It is an impressive example of Romanesque-Ottonian architecture. Inside St. Michael's Church, which can be considered as a work of art in its own right, one of the real showpieces is the painted wooden ceiling dating from the 13th century, which depicts the lineage of Christ (the Tree of Jesse). The flat ceiling, which is unique in all of Germany, conveys a fascinating impression of Romanesque monumental painting and it is the oldes example of this type of artwork still in existence north of the Alps today.
St. Mary's Cathedral
St. Mary's Cathedral (Mariendom), one of the oldest bishop's churches, or cathedrals, in Germany, is a basilica divided into three naves and built of broken and quarry stone. The Cloister, a two-storey three-wing construction whose inner courtyard has served as the burial place of the church for centuries adjoins the main apse. This is where the legendary 1,000-year-old rosebush can also be found. Decorations include the most monumental bronze castings dating from the Middle Ages: Christ's Pillar and Bernward's Bronze Door.
Hildesheim is also famous for its half-timbered houses, such as the Knochenhauer Guild Hall, whose ornate carvings make it one of the most beautiful exemplars of half-timbered architecture in the world.
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