Eight years and 23 million euros:
Elaborate renovation of the Cathedral´s twin towers

The Cathedral Towers were examined for three years since 2017. The results were presented in April 2021. The upcoming restoration of the Cathedral Towers, including the masonry, will take about eight years and cost 23 million euros.

The damage is partly due to the material of the church itself, partly as a "legacy" of the destructive effect of the bombing of Lübeck in 1942 and partly to be classified as normal aging processes.

The Demage

The expert team of architects, building historians and engineers listed the damage, which became visible using photogrammetry with the support of a drone, of a laser scanner, tachymeter, 3D printer, core drilling and scanning microscopic analysis. Already visible to the naked eye are large cracks in the masonry over several storeys and damage to all sides of both towers and the gable end of the central nave, including the vault. Pieces of stone were also falling off, so that some areas need to be protected.

Progressive process

The deterioration of the masonry is a progressive process, caused by the removal of material by natural influences such as wind and weather. As a result, the brick shell continues to lose its resistance to weathering. Causes are penetrating moisture, frost damage and washing out of the joint and masonry mortar. If nothing were to be done, there is even a threat of the towers losing their stability. The experts also took a close look at the repair measures of past centuries - partly to understand the damage from its origins, partly to learn and also to document this knowledge and pass it on to future generations.

The findings

Punctual interventions will not help, almost all exterior surfaces and partly also interior surfaces have to be renovated, here the experts are in agreement. In a phase of finding methods, they will differentiate individual areas and develop renovation modules for them. In earlier renovations, the outer defective shell was repaired without anchoring it to the core masonry. This created a "wallpaper" and adheres to the back masonry only through friction.

The renovation measures

Currently, the experts are preparing for the renovation with the following questions: How can the shell masonry be permanently connected to the core masonry? How do you deal with temperature-related changes in the length of the masonry? Which areas are completely deteriorated due to the material found? Which areas can be preserved? Which jointing and masonry mortars are used? The answers are to be found within the trial construction section to determine the individual restoration methods and will be incorporated into the restoration concept.

Investigation of the inclination

The Cathedral Towers will also be examined for their inclination with a fixed-point monitoring system during and after the renovation in order to gain insights into the dynamics of the towers and the sustainability of the Cathedral's building foundation. This is because the foundation is unstable, as the experts discovered. The renovation of the towers can be carried out independently of this. Renovation of the foundation may follow at a later date.

Start of renovation in 2023

The first construction phase is planned for 2023, provided that financing is secured - the costs are estimated at 2,928,000 euros. This will be followed by six more construction phases, which will cost between 2,745,000 and 3,907,000 euros - until the estimated completion of the entire project in 2028.

In order to be able to finance the renovation, the church's own funds, public subsidies, funding from foundations and donations from individuals and companies will be necessary.

The history of the Cathedral

The roots of the Cathedral reach back into the time of Henry the Lion, who laid the foundation stone for the three-nave hall church in 1173. Its completion took a full 70 years.

Lübeck Cathedral is the first large brick church on the Baltic Sea and, at 130 metres long, one of the longest brick churches. With its episcopal seat, the Hanseatic city had a radiant power that reached far beyond the city's borders. Even after the bishops moved their seat to Eutin in 1309, the Cathedral remained an important spiritual centre of the town as an episcopal church alongside the parish churches. Today, bishops of the Northern Church are preaching here at regular intervals. In addition to the famous 17-metre-high Triumphal Cross by Bernt Notke, which was consecrated in 1477, the Cathedral houses two statues of the Virgin Mary. The Cathedral's twin towers, like the tower of St Peter's and the twin towers of St Mary's, fell victim to British bombs on Palm Sunday night 1942 - they burned and collapsed the next day. The Cathedral with the Paradise Porch on the north side is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Lübeck Old Town. Its more than 800-year history bears witness to construction, destruction and reconstruction.

You can donate online here

Account number of the Seven Towers Campaign:

Ev.-Luth. Kirchenkreis Lübeck-Lauenburg
IBAN: DE98230501010162966600
Bank: Sparkasse zu Lübeck

IBAN: DE41230901420005441188
Bank: Volksbank Lübeck

Intended purpose: Spende Sieben Türme
Please do not forget your naeme and address for the donation receipt, if desired.

For the renovation of the Cathedral Towers an additional account has been set up.
Intended purpose:  “Sanierung der Dom-Türme”

Konto:  bei der Sparkasse zu Lübeck
IBAN:  DE 13 2305 0101 0160 4143 14
Bei Überweisungen bitte den Verwendungszweck: “Sanierung der Dom-Türme” angeben.