St. Martin's Church
St. Martin’s Catholic Church is one of the oldest structures in town, having survived the destruction of the town in 1689, though it was severely damaged. In the church’s basement are the remains of a Roman bathhouse built around 200 AD. They provide important evidence of Roman settlement in Ettlingen.
In the Middle Ages, a ribbed vault was built into the church’s quire tower. In 1360, the church was expanded westwards, the window openings were redesigned in the Gothic style, and the tower was topped with an octagonal structure complete with acoustic openings in ornate Gothic tracery. In the 15th century, St. Martin’s was made into a collegiate church (Stiftskirche), making it necessary to build a quire for the 24 canons who would perform the daily offices. A chapter house and a larger sacristy were also built in light of these changes. At that time, a rood screen separated the quire and sacristy from the general congregation.
A general restoration of the church was completed between 1980 and 1990. Of particular importance was the decoration of the ceiling over the church’s nave. This task was achieved by Karlsruhe painter Prof. Emil Wachter, whose painting takes biblical themes and presents them in modern contexts.
The destruction of Ettlingen during the Nine Years’ War had far-reaching consequences for the architectural development of the church. At the beginning of the 18th century, work began on reconstruction, completed in 1732 under Margravine Sybilla Augusta. Johann Michael Ludwig Rohrer, her master-builder, built the Baroque nave and western gable, an organ loft was installed, and the two corner galleries above the side altars were finished.
Above the main entrance stands a statue of St. Martin with his familiar attributes, cutting his cloak in two to share it with a beggar.
Translator: Chase Faucheux