Margaret church to Steinbach
Between Bad Bibra and Steinbach, the church stands today without its village Steinbach and for this reason alone it seems to be something special. The Margaret Church, built around 1220, is a treasure of Romanesque architecture.
The emergence of such a church, which is not usual for a small village, can only be explained by the effect of the Augustinian canons' monastery. It was probably built by master builders of the Naumburg cathedral building school. Like the Naumburg Cathedral, it is decorated with many ornamental forms that were typical for the late Romanesque period. The village of Steinbach itself was first mentioned in a document in 952. The old Steinbach is said to have stood in the area of today's church and was probably completely destroyed in the 30-year war and rebuilt in its present location. Remains of a village near the church could not be proven until today.
The late Romanesque complex shows a typical staggering: a square west tower, a rectangular nave, a choir in the east, to which the apse adjoins. The tower was certainly built later. The round-arched and richly articulated portico is particularly ornate: beautiful capitals with plant motifs and remains of an eagle and a tympanum (arched panel) above the door. Arched friezes on the choir and apse with different brackets, a stair frieze on the choir pediment, and the beaded reveal on the original windows stand out. One marvels at the small ashlar building with such a wealth of charming stonework.Inside the church, the massive arches on the chancel and apse impress. Then one discovers the richly decorated capitals, plant ornaments and a face, on the corner columns in the choir. Through these columns and also through the irregularities on the plastered side walls of the choir, one suspects an original cross vault. Today, the choir has a flat wooden ceiling, as was also common in the Romanesque period.
Nevertheless, the church raises many questions when you look at it and, despite research into its construction, it still holds many a secret. What happened to the village that once belonged to the church? Who commissioned the elaborate decorative ornamentation, which was otherwise reserved only for an important cathedral or monastery churches. Let us hope that the church will remain with us for a long time to come and that many a secret will be revealed.
open church on weekends from may to october