To pacify the subjugated Saxons, Charlemagne stayed in the area of the rivers Weser and Diemel several times. Very often missionaries worked under the protection of the imperial troops and built the first churches, and they did the same on the Krukenberg near Helmarshausen. The first building was a wooden baptistery which was dedicated to John the Baptist.
Only an underground christening room (Arkesolium) of this first building could be found during excavations. No conclusions can be drawn regarding the shape or size of the church. It is not known how this church was destroyed, but its replacement by a remarkable new building speaks to the importance of the place.
The Heilig-Grab-Kirche was built in 1107 modeled on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The floor plan shows the cruciform and circular layout of the church. There is no indication that the powerful arches were supported. The walls of the rotunda have even been interrupted by windows between the arms of the cross. The antiquated masonry as well as the lack of any adornment suggests Carolingian building style.
The floor plan for this church came from the Middle East, where this building style is widely used. In 1033, Abbot Wino of Helmarshausen was sent to Jerusalem by his bishop to pick up the exact plans of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. However, that had been destroyed in 1009. Not to return empty-handed, the Abbot brought the plan for this church home.
About 100 years after the construction of the church the powerful fortifications were built around it. The friction between the Helmarshausen Abbey and the bishopric of Paderborn was at its height and it was believed better to protect the mountain church and the monastery with a solid system.
A high castle wall with an out-side moat enclosed the church on the Krukenberg. Next to it stood a mighty tower with enormously thick walls, which was accessible only through a small door halfway up. Apart from the gate tower and the two round towers on the wall, two residential buildings were inserted in the enclosure: the rectangular Abbot‘s House of which only wall stumps and some vaults are preserved, and the Paderborn House with a semi-circular back inserted in the wall in 1338. Large fireplaces, wall niches, and closets suggest a certain comfort the reeves of Paderborn allowed themselves here. The castle did not have larger service buildings, only a well was found in the castle walls. The castle probably met demands, but could never dominantly intervene in the fate of the city and monastery. The Krukenburg was never destroyed in a war but it gradually fell into disrepair. The entire complex was restored and renovated in recent years to save at least the ruins of this unique fortification.
The Krukenburg is an unusual fortified church which at the same time was a military and residential building and housed secular and spiritual powers, who often lived side by side as enemies in these fortifications.
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