The Bernward Doors

Preserving Ancient World Heritage

Working on a more than 1200 year old masterpiece of art and craft - like Bernward's Doors is one of a kind - leaves you meek, feeling blessed.

Michael Hammers


The Hildesheim Cathedral was closed to the public for over four and a half years. With the impending 1200-year diocesan jubilee approaching in 2015, the Romanesque episcopal church had been extensively renovated and remodelled. On 15th August 2014, the wings of Bernward’s Door opened wide for the first time to welcome the people of Hildesheim and their guests.

The Berward Doors got relocated to their original place inside the Cathedral.

Michael Hammers had been comissioned to take care in full responsibilty of their handling and relocation and invented a unique state of the art 3D-pivot bearing: Which on the end is totally unvisible! Michael also is in charge with a constant monitoring and maintaining of the artefact.

A sculptural masterpiece from the year 1015

In the year 1015 Bishop Bernward commissioned the two door leaves for the west entrance of Hildesheim Cathedral.  The doors measure 4.72 metres in height and, being the tallest amongst all doors of their era, they occupy  a special status amongst medieval doors.

Even at the time they were made, the bronze door leaves were unique. As a case in point, they surpassed the bronze doors that Charlemagne had cast for the Collegiate Church in Aachen, not only because of their immense height, but also due to the reliefs that make the bronze doors of Hildesheim Cathedral a sculptural masterpiece.

Of all the bronze doors with figural scenes dating back to the Middle Ages, the Bernward Doors are the oldest, with what is probably one of the earliest great sculptural cycles of images north of the Alps and one of the boldest works of all medieval castings in ore. 16 panels depict the biblical story of Salvation in extraordinary vividness and in a manner that is unbelievably dramatic for the time in which they were made. The panels on the left leaf depict scenes from the Old Testament, starting at the top with the Creation of Man and ending with the murder of Abel by his brother Cain. The panels on the opposite side show events from the New Testament, starting with the Annunciation to Mary at the bottom and ending with Easter and the Ascension at the top.


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