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Sehenswürdigkeiten in Merzig: Das Merziger Stadthaus – Merzig Town Hall

Das Merziger Stadthaus – Merzig Town Hall

Significant Saarland late-Renaissance building

Merzig can thank the Elector of Trier and Archbishop Philipp Christoph von Sötern (1632-1652) for one of its most beautiful landmarks and one of the most significant late-Renaissance buildings in Saarland.

What now functions as the town hall was constructed between 1647 and 1649 as an elector’s palace based on plans by the Trier court architect Matthias Staudt. The “Charta topographica” map of the market town of Mertzig from 1731 shows the “Newen Bau” with a garden on the edge of the current building. Over the centuries, the building, whose distinctive country house character gave the village of Mertzig the look of a real town, became the centre point of the town centre.

The architect’s concept for the town hall followed French models from the 16th century known as “Manoirs” (country houses, summer residences or hunting lodges), and the Merzig town hall is one of the most important examples of this style in Germany. In the first third of the 18th century, architect Christian Kretzschmar redesigned the building in a Baroque style as part of reconstruction work following a fire. The destroyed original stair tower on the rear façade was replaced with a dramatic open staircase with an elaborately designed portal. Most of the window embrasures (with the exception of those on the west gable and on the courtyard side, where the original form can still be identified) were given Baroque framing.

Particularly notable are the head emerging from ivy tendrils above the double portal and the keystones above the windows decorated with heads, a popular motif at the time, which Kretzschmar also used on his most famous building, the abbey in Mettlach.

Today, the town hall is used as the administration building for the municipal authority and also houses the wedding chamber.

Teracotta from Herrenchiemsee

Inside the Merzig town hall, visitors can find something very interesting. Since 1998, 16 terracotta pieces originally intended to decorate the façade of Herrenchiemsee Palace have been here on permanent loan from the Bavarian palace authorities.

Almost all the decoration on the façade of the Bavarian royal palace actually came from the terracotta plant at the Merzig company Villeroy & Boch. Back in 1879, the time when Ludwig II was building his famous castles, the Merzig artists developed a way of making their terracotta look incredibly like natural stone. Merzig terracotta was ordered to decorate the façades of prestigious buildings all over the world. Hundreds of building ornaments, such as pediments,flame finials and mascarons are still stored in the vaulted cellars of Herrenchiemsee. They were designed and delivered for the two side wings planned to be added to the main building, the shell of one having actually been built.

When Ludwig II died in 1886, construction was halted and the shell of the new wing was torn down at the beginning of the last century. The terracotta stored in the cellars was all but forgotten. In 1997, after negotiations with the Bavarian palace authorities, the town of Merzig and the company Villeroy & Boch managed to bring some of the artworks back to Merzig on permanent loan. After more than 100 years, these examples of striking craftsmanship are back where they were made, bearing witness to the skill and hard work of their creators in Merzig.

Kontakt

Das Merziger Stadthaus – Merzig Town Hall
Poststraße 20
66663 Merzig

Anfahrt Das Merziger Stadthaus – Merzig Town Hall

+49 (0) 6861/85-330
tourist@merzig.de

Bildergalerie

Historisches_Rathaus_Innenhof
Außenansicht des Historisches Rathauses.

Location and directions

Poststraße 20, Merzig, Deutschland


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