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:
The Cathedral of Limburg is one of the best preserved late Romanesque style buildings. It is unknown When the first church was built above the Lahn river. Archaeological discoveries have revealed traces of a 9th-century church building in the area of the current chapel. It was probably built in Merovingian times as a castle and the chapel added in the early 9th century.
In 910 AD, Count Konrad Kurzbold (cousin of the future King Konrad I) founded a collegiate chapter of 18 canons, who lived according to the rule of Bishop Chrodegang of Metz, on the hilltop site. The original castle chapel was torn down and a three-aisled basilica was built in its place. The foundations of this basilica have been found beneath the present floor.
The construction of current cathedral is dated to 1180-90. The consecration was performed in 1235 by the archbishop of Trier. It seems certain that the cathedral was built in four stages. The first stage encompassed the west facade, the south side aisle, the choir and the transept up to the matroneum. This section forms the Conradine church. The second stage consisted of the addition of the inner pillars of the south nave. In this stage the bound system was first introduced. In the third phase, the matroneum in the southern nave was built. The fourth stage included the north side of the transept and the choir matroneum. By this stage Gothic influence is very clear.
The interior was destroyed by Swedish soldiers during the Thirty Years War (1618-48) and reconstructed in a late Baroque style in 1749. The Baroque renovation was heavy-handed: the surviving medieval stained glass windows were replaced; all the murals were covered up; the ribs of the vaults and columns of the arcades were painted blue and red; the capstones were gilded; the original high altar was replaced. The colorfully painted exterior was coated in plain white and the central tower was extended by 6.5 meters.
The collegiate chapter of Limburg was dissolved in 1803 during the Napoleonic period, but then raised to the rank of cathedral in 1827 when the bishopric of Limburg was founded. Some renovations in contemporary style followed: the walls were coated white, the windows were redone in blue and orange (the heraldic colors of the Duke of Nassau) and towers were added to the south transept (1865).
Further changes came after Limburg was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia in 1866. It was now the Romantic period and the cathedral was accordingly restored to an idealized vision of its original Romanesque appearance. The exterior stonework was stripped of all its plaster and paint, to better conform with the Romantic ideal of a medieval church growing out of the rock. The Baroque interior was stripped away and the wall paintings were uncovered and repainted.
Further renovations came in 1934-35, enlightened by better knowledge of the original art and architecture. Art Nouveau stained glass windows were also added. A major restoration in 1965-90 included replastering and painting the exterior, both to restore it to its original appearance and to protect the stonework, which was rapidly deteriorating while exposed to the elements.
The interior is covered in medieval frescoes dating from 1220 to 1235. They are magnificent and important survivals, but time has not been terribly kind to them - they were whitewashed over in the Baroque period (1749) and uncovered and repainted with a heavy hand in the Romantic period (1870s) before finally being restored more sensitively in the 1980s.