Famous city landmark St. Michaelis Church
This distinctive landmark in Hamburg is better known locally as the "Michel". Visitors can admire the church's impressive central vaulted nave, containing three music organs, and enjoy a beautiful view of the city from the tower.
St. Michaelis Church
Address: Englische Planke 1a, 20459 Hamburg
Opening times: May to October: 9am – 8pm; November to April: 10am to 6pm.
Public transport: U3, station 'Baumwall' / Bus line 112 or 37, stop 'Michaeliskirche'
Parking: Parkhaus Michel-Garage, Schaarmarkt[Links to: Transport Map / City Map / Cycle route planner]
As you pass through the Hamburg inner city, the church tower of Michel can seem to follow you everywhere. This may be due to the fact that, at 132 metres, the tower of the main church dwarfs most buildings in the city centre and can be seen from many angles.
Whether on a walk through Außenalster; a visit to the 'Planten un Blomen' park; strolling by the city walls; or along Landungsbrücken – the history-rich Church, nicknamed 'Michel' is a constant feature in the cityscape.
The St Michaelis church as you can see it today is the third one to be built on the site. The original church, built between 1648 – 61 in the baroque style, was destroyed by a lightning strike. The second building was laid out in a form similar to a Greek cross, and later a 132 metre high tower was added (1777-85).
This second building was destroyed in 1906 in a fire started during construction work. The Michel was then built for a third time from 1907 -12, with complex renovations taking place in 1983 including a copper roofing.
Many lovers of architecture consider the Baroque church, with its distinctive cap, to be the most beautiful church in northern Germany, situated as it is among the piers and jetties of Landungsbrücken.
Particularly striking is the copper plating around the tower, which is a popular lookout spot. At a height of 82 metres, visitors can have a wonderful view of the northern metropolis as well as being able to get close to the largest clock tower in Germany.
A special tourist attraction is also the Michel trumpet player: every day at 10am and 9pm (Sundays at 12pm) the tower warden plays a trumpet solo which sounds out in all directions.
Exploring the Michel
Before the ascent to the tower, above the main entrance, the copper Archangel Michael can be spotted. He is the patron saint of many trades, particularly knights and soldiers.
Music lovers should view the three church organs that are found inside. The largest organ dates from 1961 and boasts five keyboards. Every lunchtime at 12pm a fifteen minute organ piece is played, and the sound gives the white vaulted chamber a special atmosphere.
Those who still have the energy after visiting the tower and the inside of the church can descend into the burial vault which runs underneath the whole church.
A significant landmark in Hamburg, the Michel has plenty to discover - from the copper plated heights of the clock tower to the hidden burial vaults in the basement.The St. Michaelis is the principal church within the new city area (Neustadt).
The other main churches are St. Petri (1195), St. Nikolai (1195), St. Jacobi (1255) and St. Katherinen (1255).