St. Maria Himmelfahrt

Waldshut-Tiengen, Germany | C.1755

Photo Credit: Jenny Toni Andrews & Isaac Reeves

With a smooth stucco surface and warm yellow facade, the Catholic parish church of St. Maria Himmelfahrt (Assumption of Mary) evokes a calming yet regal presence within Waldshut-Tiengen, Germany. Completed around 1755, the church is situated near the Tiengen Castle and sits atop a rock spur overlooking the city.

While the present church structure was built during the mid-18th century, the remnants of Roman masonry discovered during a 1970’s excavation reveal that a church stood on site as early as the 8th century. The purpose of the excavation was to locate the tomb of the Counts of Sulz, the German noble family who presided over Tiengen for hundreds of years.

The original church had been replaced and underwent countless additions and renovations, before falling into disrepair and neglect. In 1753, Prince Joseph von Schwarzenberg of Krumau ordered the government to rebuild. He commissioned 71-year-old master builder Peter Thumb to manage construction of the church.

St. Maria Himmelfahrt was designed in the Baroque style and features a tower with seven bells. Inside, a beautiful fresco painting of the Ascension of Mary by artist Eustachius Gabriel, who was 27 at the time of its creation, looms over the high altar. Ornately decorated side altars and a pulpit adorn the interior looking over rows of pews.

The Church has undergone many restorations over the years. Gabriel’s fresco painting was restored in the 1940’s, and extensive restorations were carried out to the entire church thirty years later. Today, parishioners can witness the stunning interior ornamentation of this Baroque beauty during services and organ concerts.

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