Wildeshausen — Intrigues, Murders, And Religious Persecution

Wildeshausen in Lower Saxony is a town that knows how to party, yet has still maintained a feel of the Middle Ages since there are many medieval buildings scattered throughout.

Once part of Sweden and part of an even older trade route, this town has been inhabited since 3000 B.C.

A few centuries later, the Alexander Church from the 9th century was founded. The grandson of a Duke brought the relic remains of St. Alexander, a 1st century Christian martyr, to the Wildeshausen area. The original building was a monastery used as a mission, and the church itself wasn’t built until the 13th century.

Since it became an important area for pilgrims, the town did very well economically. Most in the area consider the Alexander Church to be the best art in the town. There’s a statue of Waltbert on Westerstrasse dedicated to the man who brought St. Alexander’s relics to the Wildeshausen.

Even Wildeshausen’s marketplace is full of history. When the town fell to M√ľnster in the early 1500s, the Mayor, a Mr. Jakob Lickenberg, was killed here and a stone by the market fountain (Market Brunnen) stands as testimony to his tragic death.

The Church of St. Peter stands as a symbol of religious persecution and freedom. After the time of the Reformation, the Alexander church was no longer being used for Catholic services, only Lutheran ones. And for more than 100 years, the Catholics were not allowed to build another church.

It wasn’t until 1810 that Catholics were allowed the religious freedom to practice their religion and build another church. St. Peter’s Church was completed in 1824 and the tower added in 1910.

After all the sights in the old section of town, head over to the Kurpark, the open air park with a wading pool. The summer concerts at the concert-shell start at 11am Sunday mornings, so you better get there early. It’s also where they kick off the Gildefest, a weeklong festival starting on Pentecost Sunday since 1403.

Besides all the inner citz stuff, Wildeshausen has many hiking and biking trails available for you along the Kleinenkneter Steine. Visit the tourist center in the old Rathaus (town hall) for all the different tours of the area. This is the only one of its kind preserved in all of Europe.

 

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