No visit to Quedlinburg should be concluded without a walk up the old cobbled pavement, through the arch to the castle and Collegiate Church of St Servatius. This beautiful sacred space has its roots back in the 10th Century and the Crypt is the place to start your tour. [There is a charge but it is worth paying if you like history and frescoes.] Underneath the younger stones you find a small part of the original structure deep in the floor under the apse. Here a series of small decorative alcoves form part of the old 'Confessio', behind the tomb of the founder of the first German Reich, Konig Heinrich 1 (King Henry 1).
The vaulted ceiling here has some wonderful frescoes in a good state of repair, which reflect the once beautiful fabric of the whole church, until stripped out by the later Prussian search of simplicity which is reflected in the plain stone of the church nave, denuded of it fresco glory.
The later fascination with this building and its historic tomb was pursued by Heinrich Himmler who sought to make this church a centre for SS rites and rituals, causing great damage to the fabric of the past in his naive attempt to rewrite history to suit the purposes of the National Social Movement.
So this monument is significant not just as the burial place of the first 'German' king, but for an insight into the twisted psychology of the Nazi's and their desire to shape the past to fit their vision of the future.
Top Tip: don't miss the small piece of parchment in the treasury, from the 'Quedlinburg Itala'. It is a piece of one of the oldest illustrated Bibles in the world dating from the end of the 4th to the beginning of the 5th century. Arguably the most precious item in the collection.
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