(1) Grave of bishop Bocholt in the east choir
In 1173 Duke Henry the Lion founded a 3-nave romanesque basilica. A few decades after that, however, buildings became slimmer, higher, and lighter – and needed more space for altars and chapels. About 150 years after Henry
the Lion, Bishop Bocholt completed the erection of the cathedral by adding the east choir. Today the Dom congregation uses this part of the cathedral for e.g. Easter breakfasts, coffee meetings, children's Bible days, and exhibitions. In the centre of this space, until this day, Bocholt, the medical doctor and theological scholar, has found his resting place.
(2) South annex from the 1980s
The south annex offers a large, well-lit space with a beautiful view of lush green and the Mühlenteich – miller's pond. It has become a meeting place for children's services taking place at the same time as the adult congregation's. The children have their own altar, sing songs, listen to Biblical stories, do handicrafts, and play.
(3) Baptismal chapel and Italian baroque organ
Originally the baptismal font had its place near the entrance to the church: Whoever entered the church was reminded of the fact that they had been baptized, that they belonged to God. In 1942 the Dom and much of its interior was destroyed in an air raid on Luebeck. The font's circular setting was newly designed by Friedhelm Grundmann. Almost every week baptising ceremonies are held here – each time a moving occasion. A special feature: the organ player does not sit down while playing. The sound of the organ accompanies baptisms and there are also special concerts in the circular space.
(4) Christ's complaint
“Christ's complaint to an ungrateful world” is a painting that hardly will meet its match. Its caption – the so-called Luebeck Cathedral Proverb – reads like this:
“I am the light – and you don't see me.
I am the way – and you don't go me.
The Truth – and you don't believe me.
The Life – and you don't seek me.
I am Rich – and you don't ask for support.
I am Noble – and you don't serve me.
I am the most Be- autiful – and you don't love me.
I am Merciful – and you don't trust me.
I am Almighty – and you don't fear me.
I am a Teacher – and you don't follow me.
If you suffer damnation – accept it from me.”
(5) Christophorus as patron saint of travelling people
Legend tells that the strong Christophorus, who only wants to serve the mightiest master, carries travellers across the river, as demanded by the hermit shown in the background. One day it is a child, and its burden is almost too heavy for him. Because this child is Jesus, carrying the sins of the world. Christophorus offers his life to Jesus. To this day he is recognized as patron saint of travelling people.
(6) Rood screen
The carvings on the Rood Screen by Bernt Notke were completed in 1477, together with the Triumphal Cross. Four statues show the patrons of the cathedral: Nicholas, Mary, John the Baptist, and Blaze. The clock is from 1628. Faith – a woman – rings the quarters of an hour. At every full hour a skeleton – Death – rings a bell and turns over his hourglass: our time is limited but not over yet. We are given yet another new valuable hour – trusting in God who has all time in his hands.
(7) Unicorn altar from 1509
This altar dedicated to Mary shows the annunciation of the birth of Jesus using the image of a unicorn chase. God comes to this world in his son Jesus. This mystery is expressed in medieval symbolic language: according to legend only a virgin could catch the unicorn.
(8) Candle light altar from 1999
Lighting a candle can be a prayer without words. A lot of people do this day by day. Twice monthly on a Friday night a meditational service is celebrated around the candle light altar. Part of this are Taizé songs, a time of silence, and the opportunity for general intercessions.
(9) Triumphal Cross
The great Triumphal Cross by Bernt Notke was donated by Bishop Krummedick and erected in 1477. At the top, on the left and right, we see Adam and Eve; the grieving Mary and the disciple John stand below the cross. Krummendick, the donor, places himself opposite Mary Magdalene, the so-called great sinner, and thus appeals to the forgiveness that this woman has been granted. The figure of Christ crucified, in Notke's vision, combines majesty and pain of death of the Son of God. The cross was modelled as a tree of life: branches sprout from the wood that carries Jesus. The wood of damnation is turned into the tree of life. The faith in Christ, who gave his life as testimony of God's love, gives life.
(10) Altar of canonical day times
The altar of the canonical day times was created by a Luebeck master craftsman in the beginning of the 15th century. Jesus' 7 Stations of the Cross are mirrored in the 7 times of the day. The words were taken from a Latin hymn that – in a German version – has been incorporated into the Protestant Book of Hymns: Christ who brings salvation (hymn 77). During the 7 weeks of Lent before Easter the congregation assembles in front of this altar for a Lent prayer service to be reminded of the suffering of man and creation in our time.
(11) Stecknitzfahrer sailors guild altar from 1422
This altar depicts Christ becoming Man. There is a Christmas mood all year round: The central shrine shows Mary with the child and the saints Catherine and Barbara; the painted side wings present scenes of Advent and Christmas.
(12) Soap bubble blowing putto
On one of the old burial chapels sits a little baroque marble putto, who is far from being sad: he is blowing soap bubbles.
This is to show how colourful, tender, and unfathomable life is – and how dangerous, vulnerable, and transient. Unmoved
by that the little angel with his soap bubbles of stone becomes a symbol of the fact that human beings can enjoy themselves in the here and now and the happiness of the moment.
(13) Main Altar
Every Sunday and on feast days at 10:00 hours the Dom congregation celebrates a service with Holy Communion. Members of the congregation read scripture and help with giving out the sacrament. Confirmands light candles for baptised children, bridal couples, and the deceased and pray for them.
(14) Renaissance pulpit from 1568
The pulpit is carried by the figure of Moses with the Tablets of the Law. The actual pulpit is decorated with 7 alabaster reliefs showing scenes from the life of Jesus. The sounding board from 1570 holds a statue of Christ resurrected. The pulpit is the place for the sermon, which every Sunday aims at relating the traditional scriptures to the people and challenges of our time. The Dom cathedral is place of sermon for the regional bishop of the Nordkirche (Northern Church) as well as the woman bishop for the parish of Hamburg and Luebeck.
(15) Marcussen organ from 1970
The organ's layout follows the classical North German tradition: great organ, choir, swell, side pedal towers. It is an outstanding piece of work of its time. Throughout the year on a regular basis there are organ concerts given by the Dom organist. And during the Luebeck Organ Summer many renowned national and international organists give concerts. The Marcussen org an was thoroughly renovated in 2016 and 2022.
(16) Coloured glass window by Lothar Quinte (1963 /64)
All the windows of the Dom were destroyed in the air raid of 1942. During the reconstruction glazing with simple lead fittings were chosen. The western window, however, was recreated artistically by Lothar Quinte. When evening services are held, especially in March and September, the sun rays – in incredible colours – reach out through this window to cover the Triumphal Cross: a sermon without a single word!
(17) Beautiful Madonna from 1509
This graceful figure of Holy Mary was made shortly before the reformation. Deeply sunken in herself the angel's words seem to resound in her: Hail Mary, full of grace. She is looking at the Christ child, who raises his hand in blessing, reaching with the other hand for the grapes that Mary is holding in her hands. Though this might look playful, it is, however, a foreshadowing of the suffering of Christ and the feast of the Holy Communion.
(18) Founding legend from 1646
Above the bricked-up passage to the preaching house of the former cathedral monastery, there are two paintings from 1646 that illustrate the founding saga of the cathedral:
When Emperor Karolus Magnus was hunting one day on the Wendish border, he succeeded by peculiar art in setting a beautiful, large stag. He had already drawn the bow: then the proud animal sank to its knees and nestled kindly against him. Now the emperor puts a golden collar on it, adorned with jewels, and inscribes the number of years that have passed since the birth of Christ. Four hundred years later, Duke Henry the Lion sees a stag coming every morning from his castle in the Hertogen pit to the spring that rises on the mountain. He orders the stag to be caught and, looking at the neck ornament, sees that a golden cross has grown up between the mighty horns. This touches his heart; so he has the foundation of the cathedral church laid on the spot visited by the stag, and gives it a golden cross in a red field as its coat of arms.
But he was not able to completely conquer the spring, and if one listens carefully, it still rushes in the deepest ground. That is why the towers are crooked (Lübische Geschichten und Sagen, published 1852).