Liebfrauen in Trier, translated as the Church of Our Lady, is a medieval cross-shaped church built upon the southern ruins of a vast Roman church built in 326 AD by Constantine the Great. It is near Trier Cathedral, which was also built over these remains.
Completed in approximately 1260, Liebfrauen is now a pretty gothic style church and part of Trier’s UNESCO World Heritage site list.
History of Liebfrauen
Along with the Cathedral of Magdeburg, the Liebfrauen church (Libfrauenkirche) is the earliest Gothic church in Germany. Located near the border with Luxembourg in Trier, Germany, it is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The church is built upon the remains of a Roman double church, of which the southern portion was demolished in 1200 and replaced with the current building. It is possible that the church was built from 1227 to 1243 under the direction of Archbishop of Trier Theodoric II, though these dates have been disputed.
In 1492, a high peak was placed on the central tower, and was named so because of its highly-skilled technology and craftsmanship. It was destroyed during a storm in 1631, and was replaced by a hipped roof, which was then destroyed during the Second World War. It was replaced in 1945, and then again by a steeper roof in 2003.
in 1951, Pope Pius XII designated the church a Minor Basilica, and in 1986 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Today, visitors can enjoy a regular schedule of opening times and events at the church, as well as admire its rich interior.
Liebfrauen is unusual in its cruciform floor plan as a round church, whose cross-shaped vaulting with four corresponding portals in rounded niches is completed by eight rounded altar niches so that the floor plan resembles a twelve-petaled rose, which is a symbol of the Virgin Mary, the rosa mystica, the is reminiscent of the twelve tribes of Israel and the Twelve Apostles.
One of Frankfurt’s least known and yet most significant works of art is Madern Gerthener’s tympanum. This frieze of round arcading was constructed at the beginning of the 15th century, and is now situated behind an 18th-century porch to protect it from the elements. The relief depicts the birth of Jesus Christ.
Getting to Liebfrauen
The nearest major city is Luxembourg. From there, Liebfrauen is reachable by car in around an hour via the A7 and A1. There is also a regular bus schedule which requires taking multiple buses across the border.
From the centre of Trier itself, Liebfrauen is reachable in around 10 minutes by foot via Neustraße, with the buses 2, 7, and 30 departing every 10 minutes from Hauptbahnhof 4.