Unusual Spires

Bell towers are the most visible elements of churches; they define the character of the church and the skyline of the town in which they are located. Every spire is unique, but some of them are even more so as they carry a very particular history, which can sometimes be mixed with legends...

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St. John's Church, Germany

St. John's Church was built in the 14th century on an old Romanesque basilica as evidenced by the 1927 discoveries. The church towers were not completed until the second half of the 14th century. The church was remodelled in classicist style at the end of the 18th century, but restored in neo-gothic style a century later (1895). The towers of St. John's have held a special place in the history of the town, having long been used as watchtowers. They would later become dormitories for students at Göttingen University from 1921 to 2001. The dorms were free of charge on condition that visitors would be admitted to the tower for two hours every Saturday.

St. John's Church
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Church of Our Saviour, Denmark

Our Saviour's church was built from 1682 to 1696 on a temporary church that had been built earlier in the century. The harmonious baroque building has a curious spire, which it obtained later in 1749-‘52. The Torah Tower, according to its architect Laurids de Thurah (1706-1759), was inspired by the spire of Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza in Rome, which is recognized as a masterpiece of the Baroque. A myth around the tower tells that once he finished, Thurah realized that the spiral was going in the wrong direction he committed suicide by throwing himself off of the top of the spiral staircase.

Church of Our Saviour
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Church of St Mary and All Saints, United-Kingdom

The Church of St Mary and All Saints was built in the 14th century in the Gothic style. Its north transept was rebuilt in 1769. The church underwent extensive renovations in 1843 and 1896-‘98. The church's famous twisted spire dates from around 1362. Legend has it that the church spire turned when trying to look at a bride, being surprised that she was a virgin. Other stories see it as an act of the devil. It is now believed that the twisting of the spire was caused by the lead expanding faster on the south (sunny) side than on the north side of the tower, resulting in uneven expansion and contraction.

Church of St Mary and All Saints
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Saint Lambert's Church, Germany

The construction of the present church of Saint-Lambert took 150 years, from 1375 to 1525. It is a late Gothic building that was inspired by the Cologne Cathedral and St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. The building was restored in the second half of the 19th century and after the Second World War due to war damage. After the Anabaptist riots in the 1530s, the Anabaptist leaders of Münster were tortured and executed and their bodies were placed in three iron cages which were hung on the church tower. The cages were removed in 1881 during the renovation and reattached in 1898. They were restored in 1927.

Saint Lambert's Church
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Church of the Ascension of our Lord, Slovenia

The Church of the Assumption of our Lord was built in the 1920s on a former Gothic church from the 14th century, whose choir can still be seen. The church was transformed into the baroque style at the end of the 18th century, but a problem with the size of the church arose at the end of the 19th century and it was decided to rebuild the church in 1924. The architect Jože Plečnik drew up a plan for a new church and in 1925 the inhabitants of Bogojinci and other nearby villages started to construct the building. The new building, completed a year later, has a unique tower, making the Church of the Assumption of the Lord one of the most recognisable churches in Slovenia.

Church of the Ascension of our Lord
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Church of Saint Como and Saint Damien, France

In its medieval centre, Saint-Côme-d'Olt is home to two primordial monuments: its castle, the former manor of the Sires de Calmont, built in the 11th century, and its church with its twisted bell tower. This church succeeds the first church, situated further away, which had become too crowded. In 1521, the request for construction was authorised by the lord, as the church had become too small. Since then, renovation work took place. This church is one of the hundred or so churches that have a so-called "twisted" spire, which makes it a symbol of the municipality.

Saint Como and Saint Damien
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San Salvador de Teruel, Spain

The tower of the church of Salvador de Teruel is a building of the Aragonese Mudejar style built in the 14th century. At that time the Muslim population was still living in the city thanks to the privileges granted by Alfonso II. The tower imitates the structure of the Almohad minaret with two concentric square towers. It is very close in appearance to the Tower of San Martín and the Tower of the Teruel Cathedral, two other Mudéjar monuments. Once the restoration work was completed, between 1991 and 1993, it became the first Mudejar tower to be open for visitors in the city of Teruel.

San Salvador's Church