A city with a history of at least two thousand years, Maastricht hosts a number of remarkable churches, witnesses of history and centers of spirituality of a city which is not only located in the center of Europe but also at the crossroads of the Christian faiths in Western Europe.

Basilica of Our Lady

The oldest church in town was built by the first bishop of Maastricht, Saint Servatius at the end of the 4th century. It was located at the place of an old Roman temple, at the place were today we find the two-towered building of the Basilica of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwebasiliek).

Star of the Sea

Much of the exterior structure of the present building was raised in the 11th and 12th century. A beautiful statue of the Madonna Star of the Sea is said to hold miraculous powers and is taken out in processions in the streets of the city once a year.

inside the Basilica of Our Lady

The interior of the church is rather dark and sober, yet powerful and elegant, in Gothic style.

Saint John the Baptist and Saint Servatius Churches

The Vrijthof square in the center of the city is sided by another two imposing churches. One of them is the protestant church of Saint John the Baptist (Sint-Janskerk). It’s imposing red tower is the tallest in the city and offers the best perspective for the audacious who climb its more than 200 stairs, but the interior is less than impressing.

galleries inside Saint Servatius Church

It is the Catholic church of Saint Servatius that catches the attention of the visitors and remains in memory as the more exquisite monument of religious architecture in Maastricht. It is a complex structure of church, chapels and cloisters reflecting a long history and a combination of styles from Romanesque to Gothic until more recent elements.

Shrine of Saint Servatius

The church is built around the grave of Armenian-born Saint Servatius who died and was buried here in 384, during the reign of byzantine emperor Theodosius and his tentative to reunite the Roman empire under the rule of Christianity. The grave of Servatius is located under the floor of the church, while a splendid golden-plated shrine can be seen in the museum.

Interior (nave) of Saint Servatius Church

The interior of the church belongs to the Baroque period.

stained-glass windows at Saint Servatius Church

Exquisite stained-glass windows have been created along the time, from the Gothic to the more recent periods.

Jerusalem Mosaic in Saint Servatius Church

The latest additions are the backdoor gate and the beautiful mosaic in front of it, with a representation of Jerusalem.

Selexyz Dominicanen - the most beautiful bookshop in the world

I could not end my tour of the churches in Maastricht without entering the bookshop that the British newspaper The Guardian put at the top of its list of the most beautiful bookshop in the world. It is located very close to the Vrijthof square, in a former Dominican church.

the bookshop church in Maastricht

The combination of the elegant arches of the former church with the three levels of the bookshop full is indeed unique. The spirituality of the former house of God is preserved and amplifies the force embedded in the endless number of book on the shelves. This renovation and second life of the former church is a daring and successful idea.