Elisabeth Well Schröck
Picturesquely embedded in a beech-covered hillside, the Elisabeth Well a few kilometres east of Marburg fascinates with its mighty sandstone façade in Renaissance style. It is a monument to Landgravine Elisabeth of Thuringia, one of the most remarkable female figures of the Middle Ages.
At a glance
35043 Marburg, Schröck
Grounds freely accessible
The well near the Schröck borough of Marburg is dedicated to Landgrave Elisabeth of Thuringia. Born in 1207, the Hungarian princess had married Landgrave Louis of Thuringia at the age of 14. Her grandson Henry, son of her daughter Sophie, became the first Landgrave of Hesse – Elisabeth is therefore regarded as the progenitor of the Hessian dynasty of princes. Just four years after her death, the Catholic Church elevated her to sainthood in 1235.
The deeply religious Thuringian landgravine had selflessly cared for the sick and needy; contemporaries also testified to numerous miracles that she is said to have performed, including above all the healing of seriously ill children. She spent the years before her early death at the age of 24 in poverty and asceticism as a nurse in Marburg and, according to legend, often refreshed herself at the spring that was later named after her.
Landgrave Louis IV of Hesse-Marburg (1537-1604) had the spring filled in 1596 according to the plans of his court architect Eberhardt Baldewein. In doing so, he memorialised both his ancestress and the young Landgraviate of Hesse-Marburg, which was only created in 1567 after the division of the Landgraviate of Hesse.
Reminiscences of Antiquity
Against the backdrop of the sparse beech forest, the approximately seven-metre-high, two-storey sandstone façade appears almost monumental. As was customary in the Renaissance era, the architecture picks up on the formal language of Greco-Roman antiquity: In the lower part, four Doric columns frame the round arch through which one enters the well room. Above it, the architrave rests on three pairs of Ionic columns.
Between the columns, a Latin poem praises the surrounding nature, tells of Saint Elisabeth and the birthday celebrations that the builder of the well, Landgrave Louis IV, celebrated here. The gable is decorated with the coats of arms of the Landgrave and his two wives, Hedwig of Württemberg and Maria of Mansfeld-Hinterort.
Another inscription is in the vault of the well, which is about three and a half metres deep, on a stone tablet above the mouth of the well, which in turn is flanked by benches made of sandstone. The well is located on the Elisabeth Path, a part of the Hessian Way of St. James. Above the spring, the foundations of a chapel can still be seen, which stood here in the Middle Ages and was demolished in 1527.