Essential Architecture-  Lüneburg

Council Library, former Franciscan Monastery




Lüneburg, Lower Saxony, Germany.




Hanseatic Brick Gothic




Council Library, former Franciscan Monastery

the building:

Legend has it that, two decades after the city had been granted a charter, Franciscans founded a chapel in 1229 in the immediate vicinity of the later city hall. A chronicle of 1414 tells further buildings that Duke Otto the Severe (1277-1330) allowed the monks to erect in Lüneburg. Explicit mention of the refectory indicates a remarkable structure. The church was consecrated shortly after the middle of the 13th century. Of the monastery buildings only a remnant has been preserved in the present council library. The ground floor is occupied by a two-nave hall with rib vaulting. The upper storey also had a vault ceiling. The roof structure has been dendochronologically dated at about 1495/96. The remains of the cloister are to be seen on the west side. The Gothic church to the south was replaced in 1576-81 by a new structure, which had to be demolished in 1818 owing to its state of disrepair. The monastery was dissolved in 1530. The city council took over the complex, initially using a section to house its library. In the Council Library 213 medieval handwritings are being kept; 97b of them stem from the former Franciscan Monastery. The extensive Council Library also possesses a "Sachsenspiegel" from around 1405 and one from 1442 as well as a "Schwabenspiegel" from the beginning of the 15th century. In the former cloister handwritings and cradle prints are being exhibited.


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