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Apse at Lehnin Abbey
Brick Romanesque ( ) is an architectural style and chronological phase of architectural history. The term described Romanesque buildings built of brick; like the subsequent Brick Gothic, it is geographically limited to Northern Germany and the Baltic region. Structures in other regions are not described as Brick Romanesque but as "Romanesque brick-built church" or similar terms.

In comparison to Brick Gothic, Brick Romanesque is a less established and less frequently used term. One the one hand, this is caused by the fact that the Baltic region was only beginning to develop its own stylistic identity during the Romanesque period, on the other by the relatively low number of surviving buildings. Many of the major Brick Gothic edifices had Brick Romanesque predecessors, remains of which are often still visible. Nearly all preserved buildings are churches. The buildings contrast with earlier stone-built churches (Fieldstone churches or Feldsteinkirchen), which were constructed of glacial erratics and rubble. Such rounded stones limit the potential size of a building; the material and technique do not permit the construction of structures larger than a village church for static reasons. Monumental constructions only became possible through the growing use and perfection of brick building.

St. John's Church (Sankt-Johannis-Kirche) in Oldenburg marker is considered to be the oldest brick church in Northern Europe. The first monumental churches were Ratzeburgmarker cathedral and Lübeck Cathedralmarker, both begun shortly after 1160 under Henry the Lion. Lübeck Cathedral was later converted into a Gothic hall church (1266 to 1335). Jerichow Abbey with its convent church of which construction started in 1148 played an influential role for the brick architecture in the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For Scandinavia, the stylistically independent Roskilde Cathedralmarker, started in the 1170s and used as the burial church for Danish monarchs, is of special importance. A last flourish and the transition to the Gothic style is marked by the Cistercian Lehnin Abbeymarker in the Margraviate of Brandenburg.

List of Brick Romanesque churches


Town/city Building Main period of construction Special features Image
Kalundborgmarker Church of Our Ladymarker Circa 1170-1200 Central structure on Greek cross plan. Central tower and 4 side towers of nearly of nearly same height
Ledøje Residential church Circa 1225
Ringstedmarker St. Benedictmarker Built 1163-1170 One of the earliest brick churches in Northern Europe, basilica
Roskildemarker Cathedralmarker Mainly 1170-1280 UNESCO World Heritage Site, burial church of Danish monarchs
Sorømarker Abbeymarker After 1161 Former Cistercian basilica


Town/city Building Main period of construction Special features Image
Altenkirchenmarker Parish Church Begun probably about 1185 Near previous Slavic cult place of the god Svantevit on Cape Arkonamarker
Altenkrempe Basilica 1190 to 1240
Bad Segebergmarker St. Mary's
Bergen auf Rügenmarker St. Mary's
Dessau-Roßlaumarker Pötnitz church Consecrated 1198 Originally triple-aisled basilica. Side aisles demolished in 17th century. Southernmost Brick Romanesque in Central Germany.
Eutinmarker St. Michael's 1180s to early 13th century
Gadebuschmarker Town Church St. Jacob and St. Dionysius Late Romanesque, begun around 1220
Near Greifswaldmarker Eldena Abbeymarker South transept and choir are Romanesque, pre-1249 Ruin
Jerichowmarker Jerichow Abbey 1148-1172 Former Premonstratensian abbey church, oldest brick structure East of the Elbe
Lehninmarker Lehnin Abbeymarker Circa 1185-1235, altered up to 1260
Lübeckmarker Cathedralmarker 1163-1230 Romanesque nave, Gothic choir
Lübowmarker Village church 1st half 13th century Possibly residential church of nearby Mecklenburg Castle
Melkowmarker Village church Circa 1200
Möllnmarker St. Nicholas Early 13th century Basilica
Neubukowmarker Parish church Double-naved hall church
Neuklostermarker Abbey church before 1227
Oldenburg marker St. John's Mainly built 1156-1160 Oldest brick church in Northern Europe
Ratzeburgmarker Cathedral Mainly 1160-1220 Oldest fully preserved brick church east of Elbe
Rehnamarker Abbey Late Romanesque Single-naved abbey church
Riesebymarker Village church Circa 1220/1230
Schaprodemarker Village church 1st half 13th century
Schlagsdorfmarker Village church 1st half 13th century
Schleswigmarker Schleswig Cathedralmarker 1134 to circa 1200, built of granite, tufa and brick, Gothic additions 1275-1300
Schönhausenmarker Village church Consecrated 1212
Vietlübbe (near Dragunmarker) Village church Early 13th century Latin cross plan
Wustmarker Village church Circa 1200 Tower added in 18th century


Town/city Building Main period of construction Special features Image
Kamień Pomorskimarker (Cammin) Cathedral St. John after 1175 to 1250
Kołbaczmarker (Kolbatz) Abbey Begun shortly after 1200 Former Cistercian basilica
Oliwamarker (Oliva) Abbey After 1178 Former Cistercian Monastery


Town/city Building Main period of construction Special features Image
Vinslövmarker Gumlösa parish church consecrated 1192 Oldest brick building in Southern Sweden (then Danish)
Linköpingmarker Cathedralmarker 1230 onwards Took 250 years to build, so most visible parts Gothic


  • Wolf Karge: Romanische Kirchen im Ostseeraum. Rostock, Hinstorff 1996. ISBN 3-356-00689-4

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