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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Otterberg Cistercian Church

Like I said, the church is beautiful.  And it's left wide open for visitors to come in.  I picked up a pamphlet (in English - YAY!) on it's history... it's built in the shape of a latin cross (typical for that time period I think). 

It took almost a hundred years for the church to be built... from the mid 12th century to the mid 13th.  It used to be connected to a large monastery, but that was broken down and used for building supplies in the late 1500s when the monastery was abandoned after the Reformation.  (The last abbot and three monks refused to accept the reform of the church.) 

Otterberg was basically settled around the church.  There was a large reformed community that grew as reformed refugees from other countries sought homes in Germany.  But later a group of Catholics were "sponsored" to settle in the community (not sure what that means... but it sounds like the guy on the throne at the time sent them here) and for a time the two Christian communities *shared* the church... by building a wall inside the church to create two distinct sections.  (It's unclear from the pamphlet where the wall was built)

But as one could imagine, that wasn't working out so well... plus it probably looked funny :o)  So in 1979 they took it down and renovated the church.  And now both the Catholics and Protestants share nicely... with separate services instead of a wall.

First view of the front.

Standing near the alter in the front.

 Looking to the back of the church (where you enter).

The girls were fantastic, as always.
They just played (yes, Sam's on the dirty floor ;o) ) while Jen helped me experiment with the different "creative controls" of my camera :o)  

So I guess it goes without saying that the place is amazing and feels so deliciously historic... it also goes without saying that I'm disappointed we can't go to church there.  We tried.  It wasn't *exactly* what we're looking for.  Rats.  We really wanted to follow Celeste's advice to go to a local German church, but it wouldn't really be what we wanted even if it weren't for the language barrier :o)  Oh well... there are plenty of English speaking churches in the area to check out.  But they certainly won't be as gorgeous as Otterberg! 


  1. Amazing! (esp. the pic with those two adorable girls ;)
    and just want to shout out HAPPY 4th ANNIVERSARY to out favorite couple outside the contiguous 48! We are proud of you both and so glad you have each other...love you so much

  2. wow - - history right there in your town! that pipe organ is probably amazing to hear (as well as to see)! weird to think that they had to retro-fit the electric lights into the church, but it looks like somebody worked pretty hard to make them look like they belong there. thanks for the tour - - and happy anniversary!

  3. Jessica,
    Thanks for posting these pics. My ancestor was married in this church before moving to the colony of Pennsyvania in the 1730s. My wife and I up to attend the Easter service there in 2012. Do you still have the copy of the brochure you mentioned? I'd love to get a copy of it. I am retired Air Force and currently work as a civil servant at Peterson AFB in Colorado. My email address is Jeffrey.Carson@Peterson.af.mil. Looks like you are enjoying Europe...Good for you! This is my first blog experience.


    Jeff and Denise Carson

  4. Hey Jeff! You are so very welcome! Wow, so cool that you have family roots you can trace so far back... and all the way to Otterberg! Have you ever been before? It's just lovely. I'll get my husband to help me scan the brochure and email it to you. Thanks for reading!

  5. Sorry for the delayed reply. I wasTDY this week. Thanks! Looking forward to seeing the brochure.

  6. Hey Jeff, do you have another email address that I can send you attachments to? I'm wondering if your gov addy won't allow them... I tried to email you a scan of the pamphlet and a few of my pictures but they kicked back to me. You can email me at thejesses@gmail.com.

  7. Thanks. Just shot you an email.

  8. Let me know when you try to send it--jeff