Fascination with death at Marien Kirche
Although it sometimes seems as if the former part of East Berlin is very anti-religion (the Fernsehturm is nicknamed the popes revench, for example), when you enter the Marien kirche you will notice Berlin has very special churches. Marien Kirche is one of Berlin’s oldest churches. The church, built in 1292 has a very interesting and weird fresco, called the Totentanz, in English: the dead men’s dance. Disintegrated bodies that look like E.T dance with men in colorful robes on the walls and pillars of this Berlin church. This Totentanz was created in the Marien Kirche when the Black Death hit Berlin (1484). It is a bit old and therefore hard to see, but if you look closely, you can still spot those scary, skinny figures that haunted the people of Berlin. If death is running after you, start dancing like they did in Marien Kirche in the Middle Ages.
If you want to enjoy this church the most, pay special attention to all the fascinating details. It might look like a sober church, but it is not. Death is all around. There are also some old, interesting graves at this old church. Centuries ago wealthy people liked to be buried in the church they attended, and this happened in the Marien kirche as well. The graves, however, are very different than what we have seen in other countries. Skulls chew on their own bones while chubby angels play on the lute to celebrate life.
More Berlin Churches:
The Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche is the symbol of the destruction of World War Two. Berlin was severely hit by bombs during the Second World War. The people of Berlin quickly started rebuilding their city, but the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche remained nearly the way it was when it was hit by a bomb. If you see how it is damaged, it is clear how devastating war is.
There is no better place to sing hallelujah than at the Berliner Dom. This large church close to Unter den Linden is Berlin’s most prominent church. If you think Germans are modest people that are greatly influenced by the protestant belief, think again. This church has many colorful details. Berliner Dom used to be a catholic church. Until reformist Martin Luther came along.
The Nicolaikirche is one of the oldest churches of Berlin. When you stand in front of the Nicolaikirche, you can easily spot this yourself. The church has different stones with different colors, like the builders couldn’t make up their mind or argued what stones they should use. The result is fascinating, with the two sharp towers that pinch the Berlin sky.
The Versohnungskirche in Berlin district Prenzlauer Berg was directly in the kill zone of the Berlin Wall. No matter how religious the inhabitants of the nearby Bernauer Strasse were, they could no longer pray for the Berlin Wall to go away in their district church. Their district church was no longer available for East and West Berliners.
No matter how anti-religion the GDR government was, the Zionskirche community stayed strong. Believers and non-believers came together at this Prenzlauer Berg church. Not to say prayers, but to organize peaceful demonstrations against the GDR government. What started small in this church spread quickly, ending up in mass demonstrations in the hot autumn of 1989.