Friday, January 28, 2011

NL-324312 NEDERLAND from Anniekster

~ Utrecht, Nederland~ (NL-324312)
Received April 2010
Thanks for Anniekster!!

St. Martin's Cathedral, Utrecht, or Dom Church (Dutch: Domkerk) was the cathedral of the diocese of Utrecht during the Middle Ages. Once the country's largest church and only cathedral, dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, it has been a Protestant church since 1580. The building is the one church in the Netherlands that closely resembles the classic Gothic style as developed in France. All other Gothic churches in the Netherlands belong to one of the many regional variants. Unlike most of its French predecessors, the Dom Church has only one tower, the 112 m (368 ft) high Dom Tower, which is the hallmark of the city.

The church today

What remains of St. Martin's today are the choir, the transept and the Dom Tower. The central nave of the cathedral which collapsed in the storm of 1674 is now a square with large trees, the Domplein. Stones in various colours indicate in the pavement the original outlines of the church.

In 2004, 750 years after construction began, the collapsed parts were temporarily rebuilt in scaffolding material. The scaffolding has since been taken down.

Burials and memorials in the Dom
Utrecht was an important city in the western Holy Roman Empire and had particularly close links to the imperial Salian dynasty. In the early Middle Ages the Holy Roman Emperor was always an honorary Canon of the Dom. The Emperor Conrad II and the Emperor Henry V both died in Utrecht in 1039 and 1125 respectively. Their bowels and hearts were interred in the Dom of Utrecht. The modest "Emperors' stones" (keizerssteentjes) in the floor of the choir of the Dom are a reminder of this fact.

The only medieval tomb of importance to remain relatively unscathed in the Dom is that of Bishop Guy of Avesnes (also known as Gwijde van Henegouwen), the brother of John II, Count of Holland and Hainaut, who was bishop from 1301 until his death in 1317.

There are many other beautifully carved burial slabs and memorials in the cathedral. Of particular note is the monumental cenotaph, which contained the heart of Bishop Joris of Egmond (died 1559).

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