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The European Route of Brick Gothic was awarded a gold medal for "outstanding achievements in the preservation of historic monuments in Europe" at the denkmal2010 fair in Leipzig. 


EuRoB-Map Güstrow

Barlach Town Güstrow


Güstrow Cathedral

Güstrow Cathedral
Tel. +49 (0)3843 682433

Opening Hours
15th May-15th October:
Mo.-Sa. 10:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M., Su. 2:00 P.M.-4:00 P.M.
The Building:
Conceived on his deathbed by Duke Heinrich Borwin II, an uncle of Pribislav and Henry the Lion, the cathedral is the oldest building in Barlachstadt Güstrow. The chief challenge for the church at the time was to become the propagation of the Christian faith in the just-conquered Slavic region.

After the completion of the nave and the spire in 1335, the church was dedicated by the Bishop of Kammin. The cathedral's charter was removed in 1552, and the cathedral fell into disuse and was used to house vehicles for 12 years. In 1568 it began to be used as an evangelical palace chapel and resting place for Güstrow's aristocratic house, maintaining this honour until 1695.

The Güstrow Cathedral attests to the influence of several different styles: began as a Romenesque building it was completed as a Brick Gothic site. The cathedral is home to a multitude of artistic treasures spanning a historical period lasting from the Late Romantic epoch through to the Early Modern period. Amongst the most well-known are a Late Gothic winged altar made by Hinrik Bornemann, a monument to Duke Ulrich designed by Phillip Brandin and an apostle figure conceptualised by Ernst Barlach, known as "the Waverer" (der Schwebende). The latter was dedicated to the war in 1927; was denounced as 'degenerate art' in 1937 and was melted military for use during the Second World War. In 1953, the "Waverer" was remolded, and was replaced in the cathedral, hanging above a 18th century cast-iron baptism font.

St. Mary's Parish Church

St Mary, Güstrow
Photo: André Hamann
St Mary, Güstrow
Photo: André Hamann
Am Suckower Graben 51
18273 Güstrow
Tel. +49 (0)3843 213673‎

Opening Hours:

June-Sept.: Mo.-Sa. 10:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M. 

April-May, Oct.: Tu.-Su. 10:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M. and 2:00 P.M.-4:00 P.M. 

Nov.-March: Tu.-Sa. 11:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M. and 2:00 P.M.- 3:00 P.M.

Other afternoons by request
The Building:
Envisaged by the Cathedral as a site serving the spiritual needs of Güstrow's citizens, the first documentary mentioning the church on the town marketplace date to 1308. At the beginning of the 16th century the church was destroyed to a greater or lesser extent three times in fires and each time rebuilt along with the town's other buildings. The church has adhered to the Lutheran faith since 1533; its baroque crown was added in 1780. Chartered architect Daniel carried out an almost complete renovation of the church between 1880 and 1883, St Mary's gaining its present form as a three aisle hall church. Between 2004-2009, the church was once more fundamentally transformed, both inside and out.

The citizens of Güstrow have bequeathed a wonderful interior to the church over the span of several centuries. Of particular interest are the building's icon Our Lady of Pity dating to 1500, a sculpture with five monumental crosses (1516), an ornamental altar attached to a wall of the church (1522) featuring 13 relief carvings designed by Jan Bormann and six frescos painted by Bernaert von Orley, as well as a ceremonial bank from 1599 featuring oak inlays. A great number of the building's wall lights and two Flemish crowns were bequeathed to the church by the town's artisans and merchants. On the walls of the church, visitors will notice a large number of dedications harking back to the town's past mayors and residents. The organ (including its pipes) was designed in a Baroque style and later installed by the Rostock organ-builder Paul Schmitt.

The tower custodian's residence is also accessible to visitors: until 1927, the custodian was housed in an apartment in the church's steeple elevated 40 metres above the town. The custodian's job was traditionally to look out over the city, alerting citizens if a fire broke out. Visitors can climb the tower and gaze out from a 45 metre height over Güstrow and its surrounds.

St. Gertrude's Chapel

Photo: Ernst Barlach Foundation
Gertrudenplatz 1
18273 Güstrow

Opening Hours:

April -Oct.: Tu.-Su. 10:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M.

Tu.-Su. 11:00 A.M.-4:00 P.M.

Open holiday Mondays and during July and August.
The Building:
St. Gertrude's was built between the end of the 14th century and the early 15th century; the church was originally designed as a timber-framed building with Brick Gothic features. The church was erected outside the town walls and  was first used to house pilgrims, later housing the town's sick. Dedrochronological investigations of the building's framework have determined that wood used in blocks supporting the church date back to 1439, signifying that St Gertrude's is amongst the oldest timber-framed churches in the state of Mecklenberg-Vorpommern. The broadly Gothic St Getrude's was rebuilt in the 30s; the flat-roofed parlour has housed an exhibition of sculptor Ernst Barach's (1970-1938) work since October 1953. A complete restoration of the church restored Medieval murals depicting the passion of Christ, which were originally painted around 1500 during the second phase of the cathedral's construction. A scene depicting Christ with a crown of thorns has been praised as an outstanding example of an excavation and restoration.

Church of the Holy Ghost

Photo: André Hamann
Northern German Advent Museum
Gleviner Straße / Heiligengeisthof 5 
18273 Güstrow
Phone & Fax: (+49) 3843 466744

Opening Hours:
1. Dec.-15. Jan. and June-Sept.: daily 10:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M. 
16. Jan.-31. May and Oct.-Nov.: Tu.-Su. 11:00 A.M.-4:00 P.M.
The Building:
The Church of the Holy Ghost is first mentioned in relation to its use as a hospital endowment in 1308. The building that exists today on the site was begun in 1313. The two storey Brick Gothic building was built to house the city's hospital and nursing home. The degree of preservation of the originally secular building– built in an Early Gothic style– is today regarded as outstanding.  The quality of the building work evinces the involvement in construction of an unknown but experienced builder, who'd developed his style through work on ecclesiastical buildings or castles.

From 1524 on, the building began to be used as a church and in 1525, the first Lutheran service in Güstrow took place at the site. From 1824 to 1945, the church was reserved for the use of Güstrow castle's farm hands; after the war, the church became a house of worship for the Güstrow community. In 1973, the church was taken out of service due to disrepair: the building was as a storage house. Structural work was necessary between 1991 and 1993 because the church's gable was tilting dangerously and threatened the adjoining street. After further comprehensive structural work was carried out between 2005 and 2007, the church reopened in December 2007 as the North German Nativity Museum, housing a comprehensive collection of nativity scenes from across the world. The church's owner is today the "Nativity Scenes in the Holy Ghost – the Mechthild and Dr. Rudolf Ringguth Foundation". The reconstruction was funded through agencies tasked with urban renewal and supported by the Federal Republic of Germany and the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The city of Barlachstadt Güstrow und der German Foundation for the Protection of Monuments also financed structural work on the site. 

Elements of the site's architecture worth mentioning include the building's wooden plank roof and featuring an illusionistic coffered frame and the remenants of Gothic trimming; remenants of a Crucifixion scene made with secco in the space around the altar and a series of old tombs excavated during the last renovation in 2006-2007. The building's architecture is extraordinarily ornate for a site once housing the town's hospital, resembling in fact a typical convent of the period. One expert in Brick Gothic, Schumann, has praised the Holy Ghost's architecture: "in its original form, the hospital site is unparalleled amongst northern German urban Brick Gothic buildings: the comprehensive range of materials used originally in the building's construction means the building is one of the most significant medieval heritage sites in Mecklenburg Vorpommern".

The building's north western wall was once home to the hospital's kitchen featuring a flat vaulted kitchen with an inlaid chimney installed after the original construction work was completed, but which was used for many centuries in the Middle Ages. After excavation work, the chimney as well as niche used for the display of icons are once more on show for visitors. A small vault was later built above the Crucifixion scene. Art historical research has determined that this was built as a symbolic tomb designed to resemble Christ's grave in the fields on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where Christ is believe to have been interred after being taken from the cross, as depicted in the Gospels.

Architects working in the area attest to the preservation of the monument and its evidentary value. Architectural historican Schumann again, in relation to the burial annex on site: "The installation of a burial annex in the 15th century lent the chapel space a greater functional and symbolic value, but the addition of a vaulted annex goes far beyond what might be expected in similar burial annexes. The annex's northern front wall has a wardrobe nische that can be shut and a small opening that can be closed due to small hinges. Those working in the kitchen area could see into the interior of the room, which was installed slightly above the typical ground level in the town. Due to its completeness, the Güstrow annex is one of the best-preserved, with the architectural features evincing the original litugical use of the annex. The annex presumably was built to host masses celebrated on the alter of the annex's chapel."

The comparably low budget for the reconstruction work on the site demonstrates the undervaluation of such work in contemporary Europe: however, the proverbial stinginess of the reconstruction budget led to the unintentional preservation of historical fragments added to the church over the seven centuries of its use. With the opening of the Northern German Nativity Museum, an important witness to the history of Günstrow reemerged, bearing the traces of over 700 years of city history while also telling its own story.