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Zaltbommel (G): Grote of St. Maartenskerk part 1/2

This church is one of the best preserved examples of Lower Rhine Gothic in The Netherlands. It's a three-aisled basilica with a lower choir and a tall tower. The oldest part of the church is the choir, which was built in the 14th century, when a previous church became a collegiate church. The choir is in a much simpler style than the rest of the church. The transept of the predecessor was demolished in ca. 1430 and replaced by the current nave. In ca. 1500 the nave was completed. The tower dates from the second half of the 15th century and is a highlight of Lower Rhine Gothic. It has four segments, the upper three of which have four niches on each side. The use of even numbers is typical for this variant of Gothic, as are the ornaments on the buttresses that soften the silhouet of the tower.

Lightning destroyed the tall spire in 1538. A slightly less tall spire was built some twenty years later, but that one was destroyed in 1696, also by lightning. In early 1945 German troops put explosives in the tower to prevent its possible use by Allied troops, but thankfully the tower survived the war without any serious damage.

The side-aisles are tall and wide and are remarkable for their diagonal front ends, a feature also found at the Maartenskerk in Tiel. At the north side the nave has a porch similar to the ones at many other churches in Lower Rhine Gothic style. At the south side there are a plastered consistory, a polygonal chapel and, next to the tower, the chapel of the Van Rossum family.

Although often still called St. Maartenskerk this church has been a protestant one since the Reformation, although for the past few decades only the choir was used. More recently it was decided not to have any regular services in the church anymore but to use the smaller Eben HaŽzer church instead.

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