Hospital of the Holy Spirit
Foundation acquires parts of the Pilgrim Hostel
In the Old Town of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck, in the building Groß Gröpelgrube 8, medieval wall paintings have been discovered while restoration work was being carried out.
The building is located on a corner plot which is bordered by Große Gröpelgrube and Langen Lohberg. The site of Gr. Gröpelgrube 8 is listed in 1360 as "new house of the Holy Spirit" and in 1361 as "Hospital of St. Gertrud". The "Pilgrim House behind the Hospital of the Holy Spirit" is spoken of in 1362.
It is certain that on this spot a pilgrim hostel had been erected since 1363 which functioned as a foundation in close association with the Hospital of the Holy Spirit. In 1816 the council of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck decided to abandon the hostel. The building was then largely structurally rebuilt; adjacent building complexes partially torn down.
The house Gr. Gröpelgrube 8 and several adjacent buildings (inc. Langer Lohberg 2 and 4) were purchased by a builder owners' association as a BGB company in order to build a social housing area there.
When it became known that the building was to be renovated, the historic preservation body identified the building as a cultural monument (February 2006). Meanwhile in the process of clearing in preparation for building work, the largely preserved medieval masonry of the external walls and the murals on top of them had been found after the tenants had moved out. With the exception of an arabesque fresco, probably baroque, in the eastern first floor area, the murals are all located on the ground floor. The murals are to some degree excellently preserved where they have not been lost through later fixtures and window openings.
The findings became clear in the course of summer 2006 and caused the historical preservation body to extend the preservation order for the building and identify it as a registered monument of special importance.
In December 2006 the foundation became aware of the problematic situation. Integration of the artistically and culturally significant medieval mural with the builder owners' association previous private plan for residential units would make this historical heritage no longer accessible to the public. It was against this background and the chance to create again a publicly visible connection between the Hospital of the Holy Spirit and its former possessions and property that the foundation administration beat a path to the builder owners' association via the historical preservation sector. As a civil law association this owners' association wants to facilitate social and environmental qualities with the housing project. Neighbourly support, mutual aid, friendship among children and the coexistence of old and young are to be especially promoted. Thanks to the association's willingness to cooperate and their interest in compensating for additional expenditure ("containment") for preservation purposes, it has declared itself willing to sell a large part of the ground floor area (2 previous residential units) to the HGH Foundation.
It was the aim of the foundation to acquire the premises with the murals and to display them to the public as a document of the cultural history of the city and the Hospital of the Holy Spirit. The maintenance and public display of the extraordinary find together with the "Pilgrim Hall" would constitute a further step as part of UNESCO world cultural heritage.
The layout, size and shape of the foundation's future property has been negotiated with intensive involvement by the historical preservation sector. The accommodation, a hall with smaller adjoining rooms such as storage cupboard and WC, has been made accessible separately from Gr. Gröpelgrube.
After the two years of restoration work on the murals were finished, the hall transferred to its future purpose on 16/03/2010. The foundation would like to thank the Possehl Foundation, the Women and Culture Association and the Organisation of Lübeck City Guides who helped to finance the restorations via donations.
The Pilgrim Hall can be visited under the supervision and responsibility of the official Lübeck City Guides or the foundation employee present (caretaker). Opening times are the same as those of the Lübeck Museums and the nave of the HGH (daily in winter except Mondays, from 10.00 to 16.00, in summer to 17.00).