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St. Kilian's Church

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Source: DrJunge

Killian's Church on Kaiserstraße in Heilbronn is a Gothic hall church constructed from Heilbronner sand stone, whose origin dates back to the 11th century. Its western Tower, constructed by Hans Schweiner, is one of the first major Renaissance buildings to be built north of the Alps. Inside the church there is an altar by Hans Seyffer from 1498, which is regarded as a masterpiece of sculpture from the Late German Gothic period. Some of the stained glass is by Charles Crodel. The Monument Foundation of Baden-Württemberg appointed the church as monument of the month in December 2016.
The first church in Heilbronn was the St. Michael's Basilica, mentioned in the founding documents of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Würzburg in the year 741, and mentioned for a second time in another official document in 899. It is very likely that this church was in the same place where the St. Kilian's church stands today, but this thesis lacks definitive proof. Excavations in 1880 found that there was a small romanesque church, sized 10x11m in the same place around the year 1100. Instead of this small romanesque church, there was a considerably more sizeable early gothic church in 1280. Its year of construction is unknown. The church was sanctified to Saint Kilian in the 13th century, a letter of indulgence from the year 1297 is the first source to mention the new name. After planning had started in 1508, the construction of the new western tower by Hans Schweiner was heavily influenced by the reformation and was finally commpleted in the year 1529. It is supposedly "one of the most original pieces of work from the Early Renaissance in Germany" as well as the first major Renaissance building north of the alps.


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