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:
The Erfurt Synagogue was built c. 1094. It is thought to be the oldest synagogue building still standing in Europe. Thanks to the extensive preservation of the original structure, it has a special place in the history of art and architecture and is among the most impressive and highly rated architectural monuments in Erfurt and Thuringia. The synagogue was constructed during the Middle Ages on the via regia, one of the major European trade routes, at the heart of the historical old quarter very close to the Merchants Bridge and the town hall. Many parts of the structure still remain today, including all four thick outer walls, the Romanesque gemel window, the Gothic rose window and the entrance to the synagogue room.
After extensive restoration, the building was reopened in 2009. On display in the exhibition rooms is an collection of medieval treasures discovered during archaeological excavations. This includes 3,140 silver coins, 14 silver ingots, approx. 6,000 works of goldsmithery from the 13th and 14th centuries and an intricately worked wedding ring of the period, of which only two others are known to exist anywhere in the world. A mikveh (Jewish bath) has been excavated close by (13th/14th century). The Old Synagogue, the Small Synagogue and two Jewish cemeteries together form a network of historical buildings and sites which vividly portray the role of Jewish life in the history of Erfurt.