The Church of Our Lady in Assens is the second largest church on the island of Funen. The main chapel on the north side of the church and the lower, square part of the tower are remains of a Romanesque church. In 1488 the church stood in its present form. The Catholic past of the building is heralded in a monstrance, now located to the right of the altar, and a stoup in what was then the porch.
After the Reformation, it came into use as a protestant church. It underwent rough-handed restoration work in 1842-56 and 1881-84.
The church is a three-nave church built in large, red brick of the type in Denmark known as monk stone (munkesten). Typically of Gothic churches, the roofs of the aisles are lower than that of the central nave, allowing light to enter through clerestory windows. The tower stands at 48 metres. Its octagonal upper part is unusual in Danish church architecture, the only similar design is that of the five towers of Church of Our Lady in Kalundborg.
The altarpiece dates from about 1620. The painting is from 1826 and by Dankvart Dreyer. It was a gift from the painter who was born in Assens and settled there again later in life. Another work by a local artist found in the church is a marble angel created by the sculptor Jens Adolf Jerichau who was born in Assens in 1816, incidentally the same year as Dreyer. The pulpit, from the second half of the 17th century, was made in Hans Nielsen Bangs's workshop and is decorated with woodcarvings depicting scenes from the Passion on the sides, and nine wooden figures on the edges, probably representing nine of the disciples. Figures of the last three disciples may have decorated the stairs leading up to the pulpit. It also has an hour glass from the 18th century, probably to ensure that the priest's services did not last more than one hour. The wrought iron balustrade of the altar rails feature a crossed hammer and key, the trademark of King Christian IV's court smith, Casper Finck.
More than 450 people were buried inside the church in the 18th century. Some were covered with richly decorated tomb stones while others were covered with brick or simple wooden planks. All the burials were removed from the church in the beginning of the 19th century when burials inside churches were abolished due to health risk. The tomb stones were then placed along the external walls of the church.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.