© Annika Kolken/ Das Bergische

"Bonte Kerke" Müllenbach (colourful church)

Short facts

  • Marienheide

Striking church - undiscovered gem in the Bergisches Land.

The “Bonten Kerken” - "Bunten Kirchen" in High German (colourful churches) - compel visitors to look up at all times. The mostly simple churches with the medieval ceiling paintings have been preserved hardly anywhere in Germany other than the Bergisches Land. Most of the churches were built in the 11th and 13th centuries. The churches were painted with religious motifs for educational purposes shortly after they were built, so the farming segment of the population, who could neither read nor write, could be taught the contents of the Bible. The paintings also survived the Reformation - many were added to over the centuries and in some cases new paintings were even created.

Today, all of the Bonten Kerken have been lovingly restored. In their simplicity and colourfulness, they offer a precious contrast to the often extremely ornate cathedrals and pilgrimage churches in the area.

The "Bonte Kerke" in Marienheide-Müllenbach, as an old fortified church, was built in several construction phases. Apparently, there was a small chapel on the site before that. The first construction phase of the church that stands here today was completed in 1097. This was followed by the church tower and then the side aisles in the 12th century, which were connected to the central nave by arcades.

The church is built in a Westphalian-Saxon style and also served as a place of refuge during emergencies and war for the people of the surrounding areas. The colourful wall paintings are particularly worth seeing.

In addition to this, its sugar loaf-shaped bell is the oldest church bell in the Oberbergisch district. The baptismal font also had a very special history: It is made of Drachenfels trachyte and was laboriously brought here from Drachenfels in Königswinter.

Good to know


"Bonte Kerke" Müllenbach (colourful church)
Kirchstraße 4
51709 Marienheide - Müllenbach

Phone: +49 2264 / 286089 - 0
Website: www.bunte-kirchen.de

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