Svaneke Church stands above the harbour at a height of 18 metres on the site of a small chapel which appears to have existed for quite some time before the town received its charter in the 16th century. The church was expanded over the years, the tower and spire being completed in 1789. In 1881, virtually the whole building was rebuilt by architect Mathias Bidstrup of Rønne, leaving only the tower and a small section of the south wall.
In 1569, the church was referred to as the chapel of Svaneke. With the Reformation, it moved from the Archbishopric of Lund to the Danish crown but is now self-governing. It was initially annexed to nearby St Ib's Church.
The church was renovated and extended in 1881, leaving only the nave's late Gothic southern wall, the western gable and the lower floor of the more recent tower. The older stonework was built of granite. There are traces of the old porch which was demolished in 1837. The tower, also built of granite, was probably built during the 16th century. The belfry is of half-timbered oak finished in red brick. Today's octagonal spire, dating from 1789, still stands today although it had to be repaired in 1905 after being struck by lightening.
In 1881, under the direction of Mathias Bidstrup, the church was expanded and renovated. The northern and eastern walls of the nave were demolished and the church was extended to the east, ending in an apse. These alterations were completed in brick. Large arched windows and a new ceiling were installed. As today, the exterior was finished in red-washed walls. The weather vane on the tower depicts a swan, representing the arms of the town.
The Baroque-styled pulpit is from 1683. The current organ was installed in 1955. The church now has seating for 300. The wooden altar dates from the 1881 restoration while the carved altarpiece contains a painting from 1882 signed by A. Dorph. The old chandelier dates from 1673 while the church bell from 1701, displaying an image of a swan, was cast by Daniel Hinrich Grædener and Arendt Torkuhl.References:
Lübeck Cathedral is a large brick-built Lutheran cathedral in Lübeck, Germany and part of the Lübeck UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1173 Henry the Lion founded the cathedral to serve the Diocese of Lübeck, after the transfer in 1160 of the bishop's seat from Oldenburg in Holstein under bishop Gerold. The then Romanesque cathedral was completed around 1230, but between 1266 and 1335 it was converted into a Gothic-style building with side-aisles raised to the same height as the main aisle.
On the night of Palm Sunday (28–29 March) 1942 a Royal Air Force bombing raid destroyed a fifth of the town centre. Several bombs fell in the area around the church, causing the eastern vault of the quire to collapse and destroying the altar which dated from 1696. A fire from the neighbouring cathedral museum spread to the truss of the cathedral, and around noon on Palm Sunday the towers collapsed. An Arp Schnitger organ was lost in the flames. Nevertheless, a relatively large portion of the internal fittings was saved, including the cross and almost all of the medieval polyptychs. In 1946 a further collapse, of the gable of the north transept, destroyed the vestibule almost completely.
Reconstruction of the cathedral took several decades, as greater priority was given to the rebuilding of the Marienkirche. Work was completed only in 1982.
The cathedral is unique in that at 105 m, it is shorter than the tallest church in the city. This is the consequence of a power struggle between the church and the guilds.
The 17 m crucifix is the work of the Lübeck artist Bernt Notke. It was commissioned by the bishop of Lübeck, Albert II. Krummendiek, and erected in 1477. The carvings which decorate the rood screen are also by Notke.
Since the war, the famous altar of Hans Memling has been in the medieval collection of the St. Annen Museum, but notable polyptychs remain in the cathedral.
In the funeral chapels of the southern aisle are Baroque-era memorials by the Flemish sculptor Thomas Quellinus.