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The „Moosholzmännchen“ Knows a Lot – But not Everything!

Kaiser (Emperor) Lothar III laid the foundation stone for his burial church in 1135. The Kaiserdom (Imperial Cathedral) is one of the most important Romanesque buildings in Germany, not least because of its monumental vaulting and the outstanding architectural sculpture created by Italian sculptors. The richly coloured paint-ings, which adorn the interior, date back to the 19th century.

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Can you see me? Look, I am up here! I stand tall at a dizzy height on the roof of the northern tower, directly in front of the big clock. From up here, I have a great view on the cathedral as well as the surrounding area.

In case you are wondering who I am: the people call me the “Moosholzmännchen”. For many centuries I guarded the “Moosholz”, a forest not far from here, for the monks as Emperor Lothair gifted it to the monastery.

I have always been a faithful servant to my masters. Just like the monks were faithful servants to God and the emperor, who had the Benedictines come here. He wanted the cathedral to be the burial place for him and his family. As you can see: a mighty church, bearing witness to the glory of the emperor. And the monks were supposed to take care of the burial site. However, Lothair passed away before the cathedral had been finished. His wife, empress Richenza, though, had the building of the cathedral continue. And of my towers, of course. It was quite the building site: The best craftsmen and stonemasons came to Königslutter to assist in the process. The famous sculptor Nicolaus of Ferrera, for instance, carved the equally famous hunting frieze on the outside of the choir apse and several other pieces using the domestic stone from the Elm mountains. Nobody in the area had ever seen sculptures as beautiful as these. People came from far and wide to catch a glimpse of the masterpieces. And all the stone masons wanted to follow suit. That is the story of how the Northern Italian statuary arrived in the lands of the Saxons and started spreading.

Unfortunately, I have never seen the inside of the church. I am kind of grown together with my lookout up here, you might say. However, I was able to gain quite a bit of information by overhearing the conversations of the cathedral’s visitors. They say, in the middle of the church there is a magnificent sepulchral monument of alabaster, surrounded by bars. What I imagine to be even more fascinating, however, are the paintings. They say the entire inside of the cathedral is beautifully painted in all kinds of colors and the walls are covered with wondrous figures – dragons, lions, sea monsters but also angels and prophets!

Unfortunately, the colors faded over the course of many, many years. At the end of the last century, though, - I can remember as if it were yesterday- there was a huge celebration because of their renewal. It was even attended by the ruler and the bishop. And not long ago it was refreshed and restored all over again. Alas! How much I would love to go inside with you and take a look at everything. But, please, do me a favor: Tell me about everything after you went inside! Will you?

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