The most famous church in Hamburg is St. Michael’s, which was built in an opulent Baroque style during the mid 18th century. Unlike many of the churches in the city that were built by Roman Catholics and later converted to Protestantism during the Reformation, St. Michael’s was intended from the outset to be one of the finest Hanseatic Protestant churches in Germany.
The 132-meter-high spire of St. Michael’s is covered with copper and shines brightly amidst the Hamburg skyline. It has long been a marker for ships sailing up the River Elbe and boasts viewing platforms where you can get an outstanding panorama across Hamburg and its historic port. The church is dedicated to the Archangel Michael, with a large bronze statue of the archangel conquering the devil seen above the church’s portal.
The crypt of St. Michael’s contains the remains of 2,425 people, including notable names like Johann Mattheson and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Wealthy Hamburg families and those in government positions were able to acquire graves here during the 18th and 19th centuries, with well-preserved carts once used to transport coffins still visible today.
Highlights of St. Michael’s include five different organs, a marble pulpit by sculptor Osso Lessing (which features an impressive staircase) and a seashell-inspired white marble baptismal font that was crafted in Livorno in 1763. Also of note is the courtyard on the eastern side of the church where Krameramtswohnungen dwellings built to house the widows of Shopkeepers’ Guild members can be seen. It’s also here that St. Michael’s museum is found, exhibiting religious artworks and artifacts relating to the church’s history.