Friday, 13 July 2012


Beautiful Saarbrücken

Saarbrücken, the state capital of Saarland, which in its present form (when the baroque town of Saarbrücken merged with the market town of St. Johann and the industrial town of Malstatt/Burbach) has been over 100 years a city.  The settlement goes much further back in time, which can be seen locally  in the remains of a Celtic hill fort and a Roman Mithras shrine but this card celebrates its buildings.  The city  has also changed hands between France and Germany during the last 200 years which must give it a unique perspective. On to the card...

Given central billing is the baroque castle which has gone through various bouts of destruction, partially burnt down and reconstructed then renovated in its present form in 1989.  The view at night shows brilliantly the architect Gottfried Böhm designed central block of steel and glass linking the two sides of the castle.

Lets go clockwise round the card starting from the bottom left which philatelists may recognise because it has appeared more than once on Germany's stamps in 1965 and 2009, it is also the symbol of the city of Saarbrücken - the Ludwigskirche (Ludwig's Church).  Like many of the city's buildings it was nearly destroyed in the Second World War and rebuilding began in 1949 however a dispute raged from the 1950s to the 1970s on whether the baroque interior should be reconstructed from the original plans or it should be a modern interior.  In the end the baroque could not be resisted and that is how it appears today.

Next we have the Neo-Gothic St Johann town hall with its 180ft (54m) high tower complete with carillon which plays at 3:15pm and 7:19pm.  I'm presuming there is some significance about those times because 7:19 is a very specific time. I'd be heading there because I do like hearing a carillon tinkling on the air,  that and the fact the façade is decorated by statues of the trades such as minors, smelters, brewers and merchants all topped off with the patron saint of my own country George and the Dragon.

Following the town hall comes the neo classical State Theatre by the side of the River Saar, another building which has appeared on German stamps. 

When looking at the next structure I thought it was a horse racing track but no it is a casino (Spielbank).  I think I'll keep the money in my pocket and go on to St Johanne Market Square, one of the many in the city designed by the great baroque architect Friedrich Joachim Stengel.  

We've reached the bottom right of the card with the Basilica St Johann which it the place to listen to organ music for it has three. The 18th century main organ and 2 choir organs.  These can be played individually or together what a sound that must make. 

Another town hall, as this is baroque guess this is the Saarbrücken one.  

Lastly we reach the Schlosskirke, the Castle Church at sunset. This dates from the 15th century and was destroyed in the Second World War but restored in the 1950s.  The sarcophagi of the last princes of Saarbrücken are to be found in the choir. The church is now a museum of  the Cultural Heritage of the Saarland.

Thank you Martin for showing me your city.   

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

How about this for a design for a wall painting, in the tried-and-true Art Nouveau style?:, by the famous English artist, Audrey Beardsley himself. You can also order a canvas print of the picture from