Nylars Church (Nylars Kirke) is a round church built around 1165. The church was dedicated to St Nicholas. Originally designed for a defensive role, the solid structure contains a series of 13th century frescoes, the oldest of Bornholm's four round churches.
The three storeys are built of fieldstone and with window and door frames of limestone. The original defensive systems are largely intact. The decorated south door is well preserved. The porch is from 1879. The church first belonged to the Archbishopric of Lund, then came under the Danish crown at the time of the Reformation. In the 19th century, it became fully independent.
The three-storey circular structure with a diameter of 11 metres was originally unlimed. The oval-shaped chancel and its apse were constructed at the same time as the nave. Unlike the round churches of Østerlars and Ols whose masonry is supported by buttresses, Nylars is solidly constructed with walls up to 2 metres thick. Originally the church had two doors, one for men and one for women. The northern women's door was first replaced by a window in the 19th century, then completely bricked up in 1973. Measuring only 52 by 27 cm, the small window in the northwest corner behind the stairs up to the gallery is the only completely original Romanesque window in Bornholm's round churches.
The lower section of the separately-standing bell tower was probably once used as an entrance gate. Remains of the west door can still be seen in the west wall. A niche on the upper floor probably contained a door leading to a staircase as at Østerlars. The belfry is a later half-timbered addition. There are two bells: the smaller one is from 1702 and bears the stamp of King Frederik IV while the larger bell was cast on Barnholm in 1882.
Like the other three round churches on Bornholm, the nave is covered by a ring vault supported by the heavy central pillar built of limestone from Limensgade near Aakirkeby. The apse, lined with limestone flags, has a high half-domed vault in which five holes in the shape of a cross can be seen. The gallery and pulpit, originally from 1882, were decorated by Poul Høm in 1973 in tones reflecting those of the church's frescos. In 1972, Høm also completed the little stained-glass window depicting a timeglass located behind the pulpit. In 1882, when the whitewash was removed from the interior, a 13th-century fresco frieze was revealed around the top of the central pillar. On a blue background, typical of the period, it depicts scenes from the Creation and the Last Judgment.
The chancel was not used for defence unlike that in Østerlars. The church font, from the late Romanesque period, is sculpted in Gotland limestone. The baptismal bowl from c. 1575 is from the south of Germany. Depicting a man's profile and the inscription Marcus Tullius Cicero, it was probably first used for affluent banquets. The stained-glass window in the apse, the work of Poul Høm, represents the resurrection with a seed developing into a plant.References:
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.