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Lübeck, Germany

The Devil's Stone

A statue honors the local legend that the devil helped build St. Mary's church after being tricked into thinking it was going to be a wine bar.  

When the Gothic-style St Mary’s Church was being built in Lübeck in the mid-13th century, local legend has it that none other than Satan himself stopped by the construction site to see what was afoot. The workers, scared to tell him the truth, told the devil they were building a magnificent wine bar. The devil was so excited to have some more souls come his way, he began to lend a hand with the construction.

As the legend goes, it was only when the basilica was nearly finished that the prince of darkness realized he had been tricked. In his rage, he picked up a large slab to destroy the church, but a quick-thinking laborer promised him that they would build a wine bar in the same neighborhood. This pacified the devil, who dropped the slab right near the church.

The slab still remains at that spot, with markings that are supposedly the claw marks of the devil, and is called the “Devil’s Stone.” To honor the legend, a bronze statue of the devil designed by Rolf Goerler was placed on the slab in 1999. He looks quite pleased with the way things turned out and smiles cheekily at passers-by. The people of Lübeck also kept their word, and built the Ratskeller tavern across the road from the church.

Know Before You Go

St. Mary's closes between 4 and 6 p.m., depending on the time of year, but the devil is always sitting outside accepting visitors.

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