Great St. Martin Church

Great St. Martin Church

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Great St. Martin Church

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The Great Saint Martin Church () is a Romanesque Catholic church in Cologne, Germany. Its foundations (circa 960 AD) rest on remnants of a Roman chapel, built on what was then an island in the Rhine. The church was later transformed into a Benedictine monastery. The current buildings, including a soaring crossing tower that is a landmark of Cologne's Old Town, were erected between 1150-1250. The architecture of its eastern end forms a triconch or trefoil plan, consisting of three apses around the crossing, similar to that at St. Maria im Kapitol. The church was badly damaged in World War II, with restoration work completed in 1985.

As of 2009 Great Saint Martin is being used by a branch of the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem and is open for visits again.


The story of Great St. Martin is inextricably connected to that of the Benedictine abbey, located at the church for most of its history. A few documents from the time of the building have survived, and it is from these that knowledge of its founding comes. This information is also supported by archeological findings onsite and the study of the style of building and its ornamentation.

Archeological Findings from Roman Times

Great St Martin’s is located at the site of one of the original Rhine islands, now demolished, originally situated east of the Praetorium. When the site underneath the church was excavated in the years 1965-66, an investigation revealed that the first onsite building dates from the...
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