Gross Sankt Martin Kirche Apse Church of St. Martin the Great
Cioffi, Paul L., 1928-2004
Within the medieval city wall of Cologne stand twelve Romanesque churches. Despite the devastation suffered during World War II, all of the churches have been restored. They are Gross Sankt Martin, Sankt Andreas, Sankt Aposteln, Sankt Cäcilien, Sankt Georg, Sankt Gereon, Sankt Kunibert, Sankt Maria im Kapitol, Sankt Maria Lyskirchen, Sankt Pantaleon, Sankt Severin and Sankt Ursula. Gross Sankt Martin (1150-1170) shares with Sankt Maria im Kapitol (begun 9th C.) and Sankt Aposteln (1160-99; later nave vaulting) an interesting architectural configuration. Each has a Byzantine dome set on squinches or on pendentives, with a triple apse opening into a central area that spread into a three-aisled nave. Side aisles in the choir are eliminated and the arms of the transepts are shortened. The arrangement breaks up wall space with niches, galleries and triforiums.The exterior silhouettes are equally inventive. An octagonal cupola flanked by slender spires surmounts the nave of Sankt Aposteln. At Gross Sankt Martin, a quadrangular tower, 82 meters high, stretches above the transept, and a turret rises at each of the four corners of the church.
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