Schotten, Germany

Schotten calls itself the town on the green volcano in view of the fact that it is in the centre of a basalt field from volcanoes which were active approximately 15 – 20 million years ago.  This is the largest area of volcanic activity in central Europe.  Today the Vulkaneum museum shows what happened here and explores the effect that volcanic activity has had on the environment, not only here but throughout the world. The green mountain also offers numerous hiking trails for those so inclined, details of which can be obtained from the Vulkaneum.  A further attraction is the historic old city with a sixteenth century town hall and other half timbered buildings dating from this time.

The town has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age and burial mounds have been found an excavated.  It was first mentioned on 21 June 778 in a monestic document in which eight churches in the area were donated.

Schotten is located on a road that runs along the Nidda over the Vogelsberg. The founding of the town could be linked to the need to protect this road and a tower was probably constructed in what is today the Alteburgpark.  The route to it became more important once the Gothic church was built and it became a pilgrimage destination, probably on one of the routes of the Way of St. James.  In the late Middle Ages Schotten belonged to the Eppsteiner and Trimberger robber baron families. The Rhenish League of Towns captured the town in 1385 in a feud with members of these families and destroyed both the town walls and the Eppsteiner Castle and probably also the Alteburg. The Eppstein Castle was later rebuilt and can be seen today.

Following the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, Schotten found itself in the Grand Duchy of Hesse in 1806.

The church in Schotten was built in the mid fourteenth century.  It is noted for its winged altar, the work of a now unknown author.  The date of origin can be assumed to be 1373 and its completion in 1380.  The author was probably of Jewish origin as Jewish rituals are clearly shown such as the circumcision of Jesus and the fact that Jewish headwear appears to be shown.  Eight pairs of images are inside the altar (Life of Mary and Jesus) and 4 pairs of images (Passion - Crucifixion - with the resurrection of Jesus) on the outside. The number 12 corresponds to the 12 tribes of Israel in the Old Covenant or the 12 disciples (apostles) of the New Covenant. This symbolism is also typically Jewish and also supports the aforementioned conjecture. The centre panel is 85 cm wide and 135 cm high; both wings are 100 cm wide and 135 cm high. The picture panels are painted on a fine white chalk background with tempera paints with resinous binders or protein. The following colour pigments were commonly used: lapis lazuli (blue), azurite (blue), malachite (green), green copper (green), cinnabar (red), iron oxide (red), lead-tin (yellow). The colours are still admirable today as their luminosity is unbroken, despite the passage of time.

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