(active 1100-1150 in Saxony-Anhalt)

View of the westwork

Convent church of St. Cyriakus, Gernrode

A westwork (German: Westwerk) is the monumental, west-facing entrance section of a Carolingian, Ottonian, or Romanesque church. The exterior consists of multiple stories between two towers. The main function of the westwork was to draw attention to the emperor, even if he was not there in person. It embodied the power of the state and the ruler. The westwork church encompasses two distinct areas of significance within it: the actual church to the east dedicated to the saints, and the bulwark-like westwork, the place of the ruler, protector of the church.

The photo shows the westwork of the former convent church of St. Cyriakus in Gernrode in the Harz. The west block was erected around the existing Ottonian round towers in the first half of the twelfth century.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.