The icon of Hildesheim is the rose, a special one with an old myth creating its fame. It is said that in 815 CE emperor Louis the Pious was hunting in the region which later became Hildesheim. His horse broke down and he was lost, therefore he attached the relics of Mary which he was always carrying with him to a rose bush and started to pray. He fell asleep and when he woke up the bush was in full bloom. When he stated to built a chapel in this location he was found and rescued.
It is said that at this place now the Dom Mariä Himmelfahrt is standing and next to the apsis the rose is still growing. Therefore it is called the 1,000 years old rose (‘1000jähriger Rosenstock‘) and it is considered the oldest rose on the planet. You can enter the courtyard where it can be found via the gate also leading to the Dommuseum. What is true about this all? The rose is a so called dog rose (rosa canina) that is at least 700 years old. It is a rosehip that continuously creates new roots and branches and therefore can become so old.
A proof for that is also that the rose was burning down during the air raid on March 22nd, 1945. It was also covered with rocks from the destroyed church – but it recovered fully. Small plates attached to the branches state how large it was in the years following World War II. If the ‘experience’ of Louis the Pious is considered the first rose wonder, than the recovery after the war is the second. If your visiting the city, don’t forget to also visit this ancient rose: the courtyard in which it is growing is amazing, with an old graveyard and the former cloister surrounding it.
Dom Mariä Himmelfahrt