The princely crypt of Merseburg Cathedral is one of the most outstanding Baroque funeral monuments. The Wettin secundogeniture of Saxe-Merseburg used Merseburg Cathedral as a court church from the time of its establishment in 1657. In 1670, Duke Christian I of Saxe-Merseburg had the burial place of his house installed on the east side of Merseburg Cathedral.
The crypt originally consisted of three different rooms, which were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. The entrance to the princely crypt was decorated with a magnificent portal. The painting above the portal shows the ducal family carrying Christ to the tomb. It depicts Duke Christian I and his wife Christiana from the House of Holstein-Glücksburg, together with four princes and three princesses.
The princely crypt contains 37 coffins: 20 children’s coffins, 10 women’s and 7 men’s. They are made of lead, tin, wood or lead-tin alloys. During a break-in in the 1980s, many of the coffins were severely damaged. However, it was possible to preserve and restore some of the coats of arms, inscriptions and strapwork on the coffins at great expense. The most valuable coffins are certainly those of Duke Christian I and his wife Christiana with their curved forms. Their son Christian II, his sons Christian Moritz and Moritz Wilhelm and other people were also buried there.
Exclusive tour: Baroque burial culture of the Wettin dynasty
The re-opening of the princely crypt of Merseburg was celebrated in May 2011 after extensive
restorations. Since then, guests can visit the crypt on every
last Sunday of a month with an exclusive tour. In a short movie, the two-year long restoration process is depicted and explained.
Please note that this tour is only available in German. You can, however, bring along an individual translator.
Tickets are available at the Domkasse (cathedral cash register) for 5.00 Euro per person.
Because of limited capacities we advise a prior