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Maastricht (L): St. Servatius part 1/2

Just like the Church of Our lady the St. Servatius, also often called St. Servaas, is essentially a church built in a Romanesque style. Both churches date from the same period, although the St. Servaas replaced an even older church, parts of the foundations of which are still visible in the crypt. The church was erected on the grave of St. Servatius, the first bishop of Tongeren, who fled to the Maastricht castellum and died there in the year 384. He was buried just outside the town. Maastricht remained the center of this diocese until 722, but although this church that was named after the bishop was built centuries later, it is sometimes referred to as a cathedral, even though the actual cathedral was the predecessor of the Church of Our Lady.
Although not a cathedral, the St. Servaas was and is a very important church. In 1985 it was granted the honorary title of Basilica Minor by the pope.
The church had strong ties with the Carolingians, who had St. Servatius as their patron saint and several of whom were buried inside the church. In 1087 German emperor Henry IV gave the church and its chapter great autonomy, after which it directly fell under the responsibility of the pope in spiritual affairs, and under that of the emperor in secular matters. Even after 1632, when the city was occupied by the protestant troops of the Republic, the St. Servaas' special status was respected. It were the French occupiers who finally disbanded the chapter in 1797, looted the church and made it a granary. The church became a parish-church in 1805, after a restoration.
The oldest parts of the church date from around the year 1000, when a basilican church was built. A large part of this now forms the nave of the church. In 1039 a new choir and transept were consecrated. Of this choir parts of the side walls are still present (in the left picture just left of the tower). In 1171 the current apse was built, together with the two towers that flank the choir.
The westwork of the church, the front with its two bigger towers, was built in the 12th century. The towers weren't finished before 1200. A third tower, amidst the other two, was added in 1556. In 1770 this was replaced by a new tower in Baroque style, which no longer is there.
This type of westwork is radically different from the first type as seen on the Church of Our Lady, and inspired the appearance of the westworks of several other churches, both large and small, in the archdiocese of Luik. It is still an impressive massive block with a defensive appearance, but the typical stair-turrets are gone, and it's much more decorated as well. Inside the westwork are several spaces, including a choir and a room for the emperor, which has a balcony that faces to the inside of the church.
A number of chapels in Gothic style were added to the southern aisle in the 14th and 15th centuries. The southern transept-arm is in Gothic style too, although the tracery in the large window wasn't added until the 19th century.
In the late 19th century P.J.H. Cuypers was responsible for a big restoration of the church. The outside of the apse was almost completely renewed, and the western towers were reconstructed. Also the Baroque mid-tower was removed and replaced by a new Neo-Gothic one. This one was destroyed by fire in 1955 and was never rebuilt, but its lower part remained there for several decades.
Cuypers was also responsible for the repainting of much of the interior. During the most recent restoration much of the 19th-century paintings have been removed however. In some places the older paintings showed up again.










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