The high Gothic hall church of St. Maria zur Wiese is known far beyond the borders of the old Hanseatic city of Soest. Its architecture combines sublime majesty and filigree elegance only an apparent contrastwhich create a spatial synthesis of the arts. With the "Dombauhütte St. Maria zur Wiese", there is also a modern Bauhütte at this church. Besides the Rhenish ones - above all those in Cologne, Aachen and Xanten - it is the only Westphalian Bauhütte in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
St. Maria zur Wiese or - as the people of Soest call it - the Wiesenkirche is the youngest of Soest's seven medieval churches, the foundation stone having been laid in 1313. The building, which was erected in the original spring valley of the medieval city of Soest, has served as a parish church from the first documented consecration of the altar around 1340-50 to date. However, the architecture and furnishings of St. Maria zur Wiese point more: this St. Mary's Church in the French Gothic style was the prestigious building project of a self-confident and economically successful city patriciate. Its constructive and aesthetic perfection and the double-towered façade, unusual for parish churches, still bear witness today to the civic pride of the builder's generation.
The furnishings of the Wiesenkirche are also an expression of a joy in the artistic shaping of faith and life that continues to this day. This is particularly true of the stained glass windows of the Wiesenkirche: The main choir windows form the largest surviving cycle of medieval stained glass in Westphalia and the "Westphalian Last Supper", which is famous far beyond Soest, can be considered one of the most original adaptations of this type of painting, which has been handed down in Tuscan painting since the middle of the 15th century. The complete window decoration of the Wiesenkirche shows the unbroken tradition of civic foundations: All of the church's windows, from the medieval panes of the high choir to Hans Gottfried von Stockhausen's modern stained glass from 1999, were created through donations and endowments.
This continuity also applies to the building tradition at St. Maria zur Wiese, which has now been alive for over 700 years: Today we can speak of a succession of three building lodges: The medieval one existed from 1313 to 1529 and left us the harmoniously designed hall with the soaring choir. The completion of the imposing double tower was the work of the second building lodge between 1846 and 1882. The founding of the third building lodge at St. Maria zur Wiese in 1994 took up this tradition and knew how to fill it with contemporary ideas: Today's "Dombauhütte St. Maria zur Wiese" is a modern regional "centre for theory, practice, research and development of new monument techniques".
Guided tours of the Dombauhütte
a) Church and tower (approx. 2 hours)
b) Church, tower and workshop (approx. 3 hours)
Phone: 02921 / 15011
The Westphalian Cathedral Builders' Association of St. Maria zur Wiese, Soest e. V. welcomes any donation that helps to preserve the building.