Saint Louis Church at Darmstadt!

So I take you back to Germany ,its a tour really lol! sorry.  A bit of story telling here. Several years back while working for a multinational French co with a branch in Germany at Darmstadt I needed to visit and did a couple of times. The city was nice and the people very helpful that took me out to see the city and eat out etc. Rolled the clock several years later, my family decided they wanted to vacation in Germany so ok off I went, family votes counts! So ,while road warrior tours of Germany visiting several cities, I decided why not show them the city that i came on business for the them to see. Something of a tradition we do where once gone on business if the city is nice I bring the family later on. So they did and really enjoyed, especially those pretzels lol!

Well we did stop and wrote my blog posts on it, but decided this unique Church of Saint Louis needed a bit more exposure. I think one of the must see in the city of Darmstadt even if not well publicise oh well here I go again on the off the beaten path trail.

St. Louis Church is the main Catholic Church in Darmstadt. Its characteristic dome, is located in a conspicuous place above the city, at the end of the Wilhelminenstraße street.The Saint Louis Church was built between 1822 and 1827 as the first Catholic Church of Hesse-Darmstadt since the Reformation. The model was the classical construction of the pantheon of Rome. The construction site required a great deal of money for Grand Duke Louis I of Hesse. The building was bombed in 1944. This destroyed its foundations; its reconstruction took place in 1950. The wood of the old construction of the dome was replaced by a steel structure. The exterior decoration was completed in 1994, and that renovation of the interior in 2005. There was a new organ as well in 2005.


On February 19, 1827, the fifteenth anniversary of Grand Duke Louis I’s marriage to Princess Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt, five years after the start of the building, the new Church was consecrated. In honor of the Grand Duke, it was named after Saint Louis of France. The Pantheon of Rome was taken as a model for this classicist construction with a total reduction of one fifth. The 35 meters high central plant consists of a cylinder with a diameter of 43 meters with a semi-spherical top. The entrance emphasizes the colossal dimensions with a gable. A circular line of plaster, insistent on a high basement, divides the façade, which is almost completely devoid of openings. The capitals of the pilasters hold a high double-arm beams, ending in a band decorated with roll motifs. The dome, which rests on an inner crown of 28 Corinthian columns covered with imitation marble, has a diameter of 33 meters. With its 33.5 m opening was the largest wooden dome in Germany. Simple oak beams and double radial rings absorbed the circular pressure and the tensive forces of the dome and ensured the spatial tightness. The natural light only descends through a circular opening nine meters wide on the dome, screened by a Trinitarian window, symbolizing the illuminating intrusion of the divine in the world. In the plastic representation, the blue of the Divine Eye (Father) joins with the blue of the dome, the Red of the Cross (Son) with the red of the roundabout, and the Yellow of the Dove (Holy Spirit) with the tapered fields of the dome.

A more general restructuring took place between 1909 and 1910. On the main altar there is a 4 meters long sandstone slab and a mosaic angel on the back wall. They are both works of the late 20C and the mosaic is from 1960. The chromatic re-elaboration with intense red and blue on the dome and on the walls became the dominant stylistic figure after 2005. Noteworthy are the stations of the Via Crucis made in 1905.

Some Catholic members of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt are buried in the Church of St. Louis: Grand Duchess Matilde ,1862 on the right and Prince Frederick of Hesse-Darmstadt , 1867 on the left.

In 2005 the new altar island, surrounded by a communion bench, whose canteen rests on a Jewish menorah. The seven arms of that candlestick recall the seven sacraments that also appear on the back of the choir’s benches. The altar is still wrapped in twelve embossed metallic symbols, written in the marble floor, representing the twelve Tribes of Israel. There is also a match with the twelve squares of the altar, in which the names of the Apostles are engraved. At the apex is the Cross done in 2007

In 1823 the first organ with 34 registers came in. The instrument was damaged in 1944, and was replaced in 1955 with an organ with two keyboards and 20 registers. In 2005, a new one was made at 43 registers in a Romanesque French style.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Saint Louis Church site in German

Tourist office of Darmstadt on heritage in English

City of Darmstadt on heritage in English

There hope you have enjoyed this off the beaten path city and Church of Saint Louis in Germany. Oh Darmstadt is very close to Frankfurt, and even closer to the main airport  Flughafen where I landed the first time and went by rental car to Darmstadt on the A5 highway. The family visits were done from south of Trier Germany.

And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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