St Mary's Cathedral

The origins of the diocese date back to the Carolingian era. At the time of Bishop Bernward, the cathedral which had been erected under Bishop Altfrid (851-874) was still standing.

St. Mary's Cathedral and Domfoyer are open daily from 10.00 to 18.00 o'clock, visits of the cathedral and the rose bush are possible at this time. The Domfoyer is closed at 24.12. and 31.12. Fon: +49(0)5121 307-770 or 771

The double bronze door, presumably created for the west wing of the Carolingian cathedral, is of particular importance. The left wing of the door shows scenes from Genesis, ranging from the Creation of Man to the Fratricide. On the right wing, the visitor can distinguish scenes from the life of Jesus, centering around the topics of guilt and salvation. At that time, it was technically revolutionary to realize a monumental bronze door such as this one. Each wing has been cast in one piece, just like the bronze doors of Charlemagne's Palatine Chapel in Aachen, dating from approx. 800 A.D. However, in Aachen, the artists had limited themselves to inscriptions, rather than endeavouring to depict biblical scenes.
If one looks for models of doors with scenic depictions, it is necessary to go back to late antiquity: However, the doors of S. Ambrogio in Milan (379-386) and S. Sabina in Rome (around 430) have been carved in wood. Undergoing a great effort, Bernward had both doors cast in bronze. Their spacious reliefs are marked by unusual vivaciousness and plasticity. An inscription mentions their initiator and their date of origin: "In the year of the Lord 1015, Bishop Bernward, in divine memory, had these cast door wings suspended on the façade of the Angels' Temple, for his remembrance." 

In the style of the triumphal columns of Roman Emperors, the famous column of Christ in the Cathedral was decorated with 24 depictions, winding themselves spirally around the column. The reliefs relate stories from the life of Christ, from the Baptism in the River Jordan to the Entry into Jerusalem.
The bronze column was formerly located in front of the east choir of St Michael's. Originally, it carried a crucifix with Mary and St John, destroyed in 1543 by reformatory iconoclasts. Since 1893, the column has been located in the Cathedral of Hildesheim.

In the aftermath of a fire in 1046, Bishop Hezilo (1054-1079) had a large part of the Cathedral re-erected, in the form of a triple-nave basilica with a prominent transept. The crypt of this building has been preserved until today.
The fitments of this cathedral included the chandelier in the form of a wheel, which Hezilo had created for the transept crossing. This monumental work of art, made of gilded sheet copper, measures 6 m in diameter. Its trimming of twelve turrets, on which the names of various prophets, apostles and virtues have been recorded, is to be understood as a reference to the Heavenly Jerusalem. Nowadays, only four examples of such wheel-shaped chandeliers, also known as "crowns of light", remain: the so-called Chandelier of Azelin in St Anthony's Church, located next to the cloister of the Cathedral, as well as two others in Aachen and Großcomburg (near Schwäbisch Hall). The Chandelier of Hezilo in Hildesheim is the oldest among these works of art.




God the father leads Eve to Adam; (c) Cathedral Museum Hildesheim

Column of Christ, Raising of Lazarus; (c) Cathedral Museum Hildesheim

Hezilo-Chandelier; (c) Christian Grovermann, Cathedral Museum Hildesheim