Five churches, seven spires

Lübeck's impressive silhouette 

Lübeck is the city of the seven spires. Five Gothic brick churches form part of the impressive panorama which was considered a symbol of the power and wealth of the “Queen of the Hanseatic League”.

From a distance, the seven spires above the medieval sea of houses look like the sharp spikes of a crown even if somewhat askew and incomplete. These red-brick giants were built and modified over several centuries and form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. They play a not inconsiderable part in the spiritual and cultural life of the city. The measured ringing of their bells, audible from afar, is an expression of the Lübeck lifestyle just like brickwork and the sea.

Church services, organ music, guided tours of the spires and vaults and choral concerts but also readings, discussion evenings and performances allow visitors to experience the magnificent naves up close and personal and invite you to linger and reflect. 

The five brickstone beauties shaping Lübeck's view

The self-confident Lübeck councillors and merchants had "their" church built with two towers right in the centre of the Old Town. On numerous trips, the merchants had seen the magnificent Gothic sandstone churches in France and were enthusiastic about this new architectural style. For the first time, however, brick was used as material to construct the basilica of St. Mary's, which is considered to be the mother of numerous other brick churches in the Baltic Sea region. Take a short 360 virtual tour of St. Mary's to experience its beauty.

With its two majestic church towers, Lübeck Cathedral is also one of the oldest architectural monuments in Lübeck and has been the episcopal seat for many centuries. Henry the Lion, according to legend, saw a deer with a golden cross between the mighty antlers. He believed in a sign of God and had the Lübeck Cathedral erected on the spot that the deer visited.

Two opposites collide

On the interaction between church and culture in Lübeck

>Read their story here

The craftsmen also built their church and were happy with just one tower. Their church was named after Saint Gille (Saint Aegidius), the emergency helper and patron of hunters, shepherds, horse traders, shipwrecked, archers, beggars, lepers and breastfeeding mothers.

St. Peter’s, as a church of bargemen, was satisfied with only one tower. It has been rebuilt several times over the centuries and did not get its present appearance until the 15th century. As a result of the bombing in 1942, St. Peter’s lost its roof and the tower helmet. The interior burned out completely. Today, the reconstructed light-flooded five-naved hall church serves as a place for cultural events of all kinds.
St. Jacob's has always been the church of seafarers and pilgrims. It is also home to the PAMIR rescue ship, which sank in 1957. In addition to this "National Memorial for Civil Seafaring", the Brömsen altar is one of the outstanding art treasures of the church due to its virtuoso image design.


Soprano Zsuzsa Bereznai about faith, song and feelings of pleasure.

> Meet Zsuzsa here

So every residential district in the medieval town had its own church and people went to their own church depending on their profession. So many churches had an influence on thought: you can never have enough churches, power and wealth! To this day, there are many myths and stories entwined with these medieval masterpieces which in former times served as a house of God, a place of refuge, prestigious edifice and treasure chamber at one and the same time.

Where there is love, the meaning of life is fulfilled.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer


The five major Old Town churches whose seven spires dominate the skyline of this Hanseatic city, belong to the North Elbian Lutheran church. But there is plenty of room in Lübeck for the relaxed coexistence of numerous other faiths. Find out more here!

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