Kaltenkirchen St Michaelis

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What you need to know about this church

St Michaelis Kirche Kaltenkirchen

Where to find this church

Church Information

St Michaelis-Kirche is located in Kaltenkirchen, a town in Schleswig-Holstein about 20 miles north of the City of Hamburg.

This church is usually locked

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Kaltenkirchen St Michaelis
Church west view
Kaltenkirchen St Michaelis
Doorway into the church
Kaltenkirchen St Michaelis
View east from the west gallery

Visiting Kaltenkirchen St Michaelis

St Michaelis in Kaltenkirchen is one of the Round Tower Churches in Schleswig-Holstein which are usually locked. As I had known this from my research, I had contacted the parish office, so that we were received by a friendly gentleman on our visit, who showed us around the entire church and also pointed out details worth seeing. This is an experience one makes time and again: churches are locked, there is no sign at the church how to get in, everything seems to repel visitors. But if you have approached the right people beforehand, you are received in a very friendly way and they are pleased that you are interested in their church. Maybe you should think about opening the churches more often for interested people? Just a thought. You can see the “Tritt ein” sign on my photos which usually indicates an open church in Germany, but I didn’t manage to find out the exact opening hours. So I suppose for the moment that it is still locked. Well, in the case of the Michaelis Church, this may be due to its location; it lies just outside the centre of the town of Kaltenkirchen, with a population of about 20,000, and is thus, together with Barmstedt, the most urban Round Tower Church in Schleswig-Holstein. And just like the Church of the Holy Spirit in Barmstedt, it was built on the site of an earlier church.

The village was first mentioned in a document in 1301, and a church and parish were mentioned a short time later. It can be assumed that there was already a church in Kaltenkirchen before that. However, it is unknown when this early church was built.

In 1624, six years after the outbreak of the 30 Years’ War, a new church was built. It was a long and narrow rectangular building without a choir made of granite and bricks. The tower was probably left over from an earlier church. Therefore, the age of the tower cannot be determined exactly, but it is probably a late Romanesque fieldstone tower from the time around 1200. As early as 1656, it received a casing of red brick, which is reminded by the date on the outer wall. The eight-sided baroque dome with pointed helmet, which was probably added in the same year, is also striking. After part of the east wall collapsed in 1873, the old church was demolished except for the tower in 1875. Construction of the new church began in 1878, and it was consecrated on 10th July 1879.

St. Michael’s church is a neo-Gothic cruciform brick building with an apse, a round building behind the altar. You enter the church through a doorway in the west wall of the tower. You arrive in the square hall with vaulted remains. From here, another door leads under the west gallery with the organ from 1881 into the cruciform main room of the church. There are further galleries in the arms of the cross, which can be reached via stairs in the massive porches on the south and north sides. The arms of the cross are separated by four large pointed arches. The ceiling above the nave of the cross arms is a straight bank coffered ceiling, above the crossing it is a tent roof ceiling.

Worth seeing in the interior is the sandstone baptismal font from 1634, which is decorated with cherub heads and fruit hangings. In the east wall to the south and north of the arch leading to the apse, as well as in the apse, there are several stained glass windows worth seeing. During our visit, we also had the opportunity to climb inside the tower and see the clockwork and bells.

Conclusion: interesting church which needs some planning to see the interior

Kaltenkirchen St Michaelis
Detail of the font
Kaltenkirchen St Michaelis
View into the tower
Kaltenkirchen St Michaelis
One of the bells