The Elbe Churches
It is worth making a stop on the way. Large or small, the churches in the region are often gems of church art. Most are open and provide a good insight into life on the Elbe.
St. Maria Tripkau in Amt Neuhaus
This church is unique in Germany. It dates back to the beginning of the 17th century with its simple timber-framed hall construction, which today still forms the nave; in 1864 it was extended by a choir, sacristy and tower. Much remains from the 19th century, the organ from the 18th century, but it was erected later in St. Maria. In the years 1996-98 artists, church members and inhabitants renovated it to a unique total art work (Gesamtkunstwerk). The interior was completely redesigned to the plans of Professor Erler, Rector of the College of Art and Design Burg Giebichenstein (Halle). All wall surfaces, the ceiling, the floor, the doors and windows were covered with large (1 metre x 1 metre) crosses. The crosses on the walls were painted, on the floor they were made of different coloured bricks made of sheet iron.
Lamberti Church Nahrendorf
St. Lamberti Church, which is located in the town centre, can be found in documents from St. Michaelis Monastery in Lüneburg dating back to 1271. At the end of the 18th century, the church had to be completely renewed, damaged by various storms. The Fachhaus style of the outer facade is unusually charismatic.
St. Vitus Church in Barskamp
The oldest part of this church is the tower, which was built as a defensive tower in 950. The present appearance of the nave dates back to reconstruction between 1764-1770. During this time the church and the defensive tower were connected.
The altar and the image of the Last Supper were created by the Lüneburg painter Heinrich Melchior Westphal. The altar and picture date back to 1770. The medieval baptism font is supported by a baptism stand made of reddish elm wood, built by the sculptor Otto Flath.
This church was built around 1452. The old tower of the church was demolished in 1752 and rebuilt in 1759-1760. Thirty years earlier, in 1729, the sacristy was built; in 1811 the altar was made. The two beautiful chandeliers from 1658 and the two altar covers from 1801 and 1849 are particularly noteworthy. Radegast church has had an organ since 1884. The Elbe Cycle Path and the German Stork Road pass right next to the church.
Marschacht - Petri Church
The Elbe had a different course in the middle of the 13th century. A disaster destroyed old Hachede and its church. In the place names of Marschacht (Marsch-Hachede) and Geesthacht (Geest-Hachede), the memory of the lost place has been preserved. The present Petri Church was built at the beginning of the 17th century and extensively rebuilt and renovated in 1971 and 2001.
St. Nicolai Church in Artlenburg
The massive tower is part of an old fortification on the Old Salt Road at the junction with the Elbe. The foundation of this tower is more than 1,000 years old. Of note in this church is the neoclassical nave of 1833 (which was last renovated in 1992). A special feature is that the altar is located on the long side. In the evening, the church is illuminated.
St. Martin's Church in Hittbergen. The neo-Gothic church of St. Martin was built in the years 1872 to 1875 from a mighty tower from the Middle Ages. The special feature of this church is the elaborate beamed ceiling. A millennial oak tree can be found in the church grounds.
St. Johannes Church Dahlenburg
St. Johannes Church in Dahlenburg was built at the beginning of this century in the Neo-Gothic style. For about 750 years there was a church in this place.
Of particular note is its valuable, carved oak altar from the 14th-15th. Century.
Also worth a visit in Dahlenburg is the 750-year-old Laurentius chapel, which houses the museum of local history.
St. Jacobi Church Bleckede
The church in Bleckede is mentioned for the first time in a document from the year 1272.
In 1765, the church was demolished because of dilapidation and in 1766-1767 the current St. Jacobi Church was rebuilt in its late Baroque style of today.
It has a special and valuable inventory, such as a crucifixion group from the 15th century. The pulpit and baptism font date from the 17th century.
At the beginning of the 20th century, two coloured stained-glass windows were added to the left and right of the altar, showing the nativity scene and the resurrection. Another stained-glass window depicts a contemporary theme – the opening of the border in 1989.
There is a hammer organ in St. Jacobi Church, which was rebuilt from 1969-1977 after the old model. It has 26 registers.
St. Marien Church Drennhausen
Since 16/03/2016, St. Marien Church Drennhausen has officially been a cycleway church. This award makes it clear that the church is definitely open during the day: in the summer months from 10:00 to 18:00, in winter from 10:00 to 16:00. Cyclists who travel along the Elbe cycle path will see the "church open" sign.
Many use this open church offer for a visit and a short rest.
Photo: © Elberadweg Nord Photocompany