Monday, 8 February 2010

Please close the door

My mother used to tell me to close the door behind me. I am here to tell you that it is a good idea. It has nothing to do with keeping out draughts, or politeness, or anything like that. It has to do with history and discovery and excitement.

Here's the door:

It's the front door of the Elizabethkirke in Marburg: the much fought over, many times realigned, sometimes Protestant, sometimes Roman Catholic, always religious and political church anchoring the bottom of the hill in the old town of Marburg.

The door doesn't look so imposing does it? Here it is close up.

And here is what you see when you remember your manners and close the door behind yourself:

It's the Prussian crest emblazoned on the back of the door. Remember that the Prussians made Marburg their administrative seat in 1866? Clearly they wanted to set their mark on the town and this was a pretty impressive show of what...arrogance, pride, authority? God and Prussia overlaid. It adds a layer of understanding to how it would have felt to be a resident of Marburg in the 1860s when the Prussians were asserting their authority and their idea of German nationhood.

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