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 Goseck circle is a Neolithic circle structure. It may be the oldest and best known of the Circular Enclosures associated with the Central European Neolithic. It also may be one of the oldest Solar observatories in the world. It consists of a set of concentric ditches 75 metres across and two palisade rings containing gates in places aligned with sunrise and sunset on the solstice days.
Its construction is dated to c. 4900 BC, and it seems to have remained in use until 4600 BC. This corresponds to the transitional phase between the Neolithic Linear Pottery and Stroke-ornamented ware cultures. It is one of a larger group of so-called Circular Enclosures in the Elbe and Danube region, most of which show similar alignments.
Excavators also found the remains of what may have been ritual fires, animal and human bones, and a headless skeleton near the southeastern gate, that could be interpreted as traces of human sacrifice or specific burial ritual. There is no sign of fire or of other destruction, so why the site was abandoned is unknown. Later villagers built a defensive moat following the ditches of the old enclosure.
The Goseck ring is one of the best preserved and extensively investigated of the many similar structures built at around the same time. Traces of the original configuration reveal that the Goseck ring consisted of four concentric circles, a mound, a ditch, and two wooden palisades. The palisades had three sets of gates facing southeast, southwest, and north. At the winter solstice, observers at the center would have seen the sun rise and set through the southeast and southwest gates.
Archaeologists generally agree that Goseck circle was used for observation of the course of the Sun in the course of the solar year. Together with calendar calculations, it allowed coordinating an easily judged lunar calendar with the more demanding measurements of a solar calendar.