Krobitz, Feuerorgel Kapelle

Art chapel with an ›organ‹

For many decades, the 950-year-old Romanesque chapel of St. Anna in Krobitz near Weira was closed off. Only once a year, on Ascension Day, a church service was held outdoors. Mentioned for the first time in 1074 and last used in the 1950s, the building was almost forgotten. However, this monument is a historic treasure in the Saale-Orla district. As part of the call for ideas by the Evangelical Church in Central Germany (EKM) and the IBA Thuringia in 2016, courageous and dedicated neighbors and artist Carsten Nicolai came together to take the future of the chapel into their own hands, together with the church community and the municipality of Weira. A ›Kunstkapelle‹ (art chapel) with an organ was created as a result of this effort.

Carsten Nicolai und Ulrike Rothe in Krobitz_Foto Thomas Müller
Together with the project team of the call for ideas StadtLand:Kirche, Carsten Nicolai was searching for a suitable location for an art installation. Which church was particularly suitable for his vision?
Kapelle St. Anna in Krobitz_ThomasMueller.jpg
The chapel of St. Anna in Krobitz, with its small nave, inspired him particularly strongly. He designed an unusual organ specifically for this place, using funding from the German Federal Cultural Foundation.
Feuerorgel Kapelle Krobitz 2023 zur IBA Tour_Foto Thomas Müller.jpg
Nicolai's sculptural work ›organ‹ is both a work of art and a musical instrument, inspired by so-called flame organs from the late 18th century.
Kunstwerk organ Feuerorgel Kapelle Krobitz_Foto Thomas Müller.jpg
In contrast to a classical organ, the sounds are here generated by gas flames, which cause the air flow to vibrate in 25 double-rowed glass cylinders. The tubes were built by media artist Frank Fietzek and contemporary art producer Rob Feigel, both from Berlin

The shapes of the variously long resonance tubes are based on pipe organs. What is special about this installation is that the sound generation is visible thanks to the flames. Igniting them signals the start of the twelve-minute piece composed specifically for the fire organ by Carsten Nicolai. Each of the individual flames under the glass cylinders must be ignited manually. Their heat then flows into the glass tubes, producing different tones. The Krobitz fire organ is thus both a musical instrument and a source of light and warmth.

However, before the artwork could be installed, minimally invasive conservation measures were carried out in the chapel. In addition to the restoration with a new rammed earth floor, a surrounding oak bench was installed. The architecture office nitschke + kollegen from Weimar planned and supervised the construction measure. To maintain and care for the church and the artwork, to start the fire organ, to repair it if necessary, and to inform visitors about the project, a circle of friends was formed consisting of local residents and members of the Krobitz/Weira Protestant church. Without them, the chapel would remain closed, as such places need dedicated people who are willing to take care of them voluntarily. The chapel is opened for the public from Easter to autumn.

Feuerorgel Kapelle Krobitz Konzert 2022_Foto Thomas Müller
At least once a year, there is a concert featuring regional and international musicians who correspond with the artwork ›organ‹.
Improvisationskonzert Feuerorgel Kapelle Krobitz_Foto Henry Sowinski
The concerts are often accompanied by a communal meal at a festive table, supported by Landfrauen, a network for women in rural areas, of the municipality of Weira. Picture: Henry Sowinski.

The Feuerorgel Kapelle Krobitz is the first realized project within the open call for ideas ›StadtLand:Kirche‹ in 2017, and it exemplifies how a creative co-use of church spaces can inspire and invigorate community life. With the installation of the fire organ, the chapel has gained an additional use as an art space and has already welcomed a large number of visitors since its reopening, which is managed by the community and the church congregation.


Feuerorgel Kapelle Krobitz
07806 Weira

Projekct Partners


Art Installation

Building Construction


  • Matthias von Hintzenstern
  • Pina Rücker
  • Jan Heinke
  • Neue Dresdner Kammermusik

Marketing Concept

FUTOUR Marketingkonzept, München

Communication Design

Tom Unverzagt Kommunikationsdesign, Leipzig

Building Measures Church

Curatorial Project Management Call for ideas: StadtLand:Kirche

Büro für Szenografie chezweitz, Berlin

IBA Project Manager

Ulrike Rothe


Gespräch mit Jan David und Frank Scholz_IBA Magazin 2022.pdf [pdf]


6. Saison mit Konzert zum Tag des offenen Denkmals
5. Saison mit Dresdner Musiker:innen
4. Saison mit Besuch des Ministerpräsidenten
3. Saison für Feuerorgel Kapelle Krobitz
2. Saison mit musikalischer Intervention der Künstlerin Pina Rücker
1. Saison mit Improvisationskonzert mit Matthias von Hintzenstern
Feierliche Eröffnung der Feuerorgel Kapelle Krobitz

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