Discover History: Pforte - Paulikirche



As early as the 15th century a breach appears to have been made in the city walls between the Nikolaistor and the Klostertor in the form of a small gate, known as the “Pforte”, which led from the Pfortensteg to the beer cellars and bleachfields of Kaßberg.

In 1477, Ullrich Schütz, perhaps the city’s first major industrialist, constructed a water-powered copper hammer mill for the processing of ore.

In the 17th century, the city‘s bleachfields were still located outside the gate, although the trade had already been forced into retreat by high tariffs. These were restored out of consideration for the city’s linen weavers after the destruction of the Thirty Years’ War in the late 17th century.

By 1800, the Pforte’s tower was no longer recognisable as the tower had broken off by then, and its overgrown foundations formed the entrance to the city. Its large structure is thought to have been a counterpart to the Roter Turm (Red Tower).

By about 1840, the city moat had already overgrown with trees and shrubs, the remains of the tower had already disappeared and a paved path led into city.


In 1913, a battery storage and converter station was built at the entrance to Getreidemarkt. It was completed in its present classical modern style by building officer Friedrich Wagner-Poltrock.

The former substation has been used as a youth hostel since 2012.


Franciscan monks heard confession from believers free of charge. The inhabitants’ close relationship with the Franciscan monks is also evidenced by the fact that many wealthy residents and entire lay brotherhood guilds joined the monastery. In 1489, city magistrate Johann Neefe bequeathed it 500 guilders. In return, he was received into the Order along with his wife, seven children and all his ancestors. When, after 54 years, the complex was vacated during the Reformation, it was met with mild outcry from the population.


Neue Johanniskirche (New Church of St. John)

During the Thirty Years’ War, the buildings were destroyed and the new Johanniskirche church was built on the site, since the old Johanniskirche church on Zschopauer Straße had become too small for its growing congregation. It was constructed as a plain building with no steeple and with high windows. The interior was furnished with wood, which was whitewashed with lime, with no decoration. Only the sculptures at the altar and the organ, built by Gottfried Silbermann, were of particular note.


Paulikirche (Paul‘s church)

In 1875, the Neue Johanniskirche (New Church of St. John) was renamed the Paulikirche (Paul‘s Church) and extensively renovated; in 1887, a tower was added. On 5 March 1945, the church burned down after being hit by a bomb.

Immediately after the war, work began to secure the ruin, with the restoration of the tower and the clearance of rubble. The outer walls were repaired and prepared for the installation of new roof timbers.

It was planned to include an events centre in the interior. However, it became clear in the course of the restructuring of the city centre from 1957 onwards that there were political motivations for getting rid of the Paulikirche. It was removed in April 1961. A housing block and a car park now stand on the site.


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