Sankt Cäcilien View of Nave and Sanctuary Utilized as Museum SpaceChurch of St. Cecilia; Museum Schnütgen
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.Roman baths originally occupied the site where Sankt Cäcelien now stands. The first Christian church built on the spot was in the 9th C. as part of a house for noble canonesses. The structure standing today dates from ca. 1130-1160. Originally, it was constructed with three apses. (The north apse was later converted to a sacristy.) Choir murals, still extant, were added ca. 1300. Besides these murals, the north tympanum (ca. 1160) relief carving still survive. The tympanum is said to have been carved from stones that had been part of a Roman mausoleum. It depicts St. Cecilia receiving her crown of martyrdom. In 1475 the house for canonesses became an Augustinian convent; but, this dissolved in 1803 and a hospital occupied the site. When new buildings were added to the hospital’s complex in 1848, Sankt Cäcilien became its chapel. Cologne architect Karl Band restored the war-torn church to its Romanesque appearance, including replacing the Gothic vaulted roof with a more authentic flat one. In 1956 it became the home of the Alexander Schnütgen collection of medieval art, which had been donated to the city of Cologne in 1906.
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