Fanefjord Church is one of the Danish island of Møn's most famous attractions. The site itself is of considerable historic interest. A few hundred meters to the south of the church there is a particularly long barrow, Grønsalen, the supposed burial ground of Queen Fane and her husband Grøn Jæger who, according to a local folklore, lived some 4,000 years ago.
The church's original 7 m high nave dates back to the second half of the 13th century. The cross vaults in the nave were added around 1300. In about 1500, the porch and tower were completed and the choir was built around 1660. In 1825, the church was bought by the Klintholm Estate which maintained ownership for almost 100 years.
It may appear surprising that such a large church was built at a time (1250) when the parish only had about 300 inhabitants. One explanation may be that there was considerable trade through the fjord with the German Hanseatic ports. The traders may well have contributed to the construction, both financially and by helping with the work.
For many generations, Fanefjord's Church frescos were hidden under a covering of plaster. After frescos had been discovered at the end of the 19th century in Møn's Elmelunde Church, those in Fanefjord were painstakingly uncovered from 1932 to 1934 under the guidance of theNational Museum. In 2009, major restoration work was completed on the frescos, revealing their original colours and impact.
The earliest frescos, on the triumphal arch, were painted around 1350. They depict the four evangelists, as well as St Christopher and St George. The most famous frescos are however those dating back to about 1500 which cover large areas of the church's ceiling and upper walls. In the so-called Biblia pauperum style, they present many of the most popular stories from the Old and New Testaments. The artist, who can be identified by the emblem he included in the decorations, is known simply as the Elmelunde Master as it was he and his team who also painted the frescos in Elmelunde Church and indeed those in Keldby Church. Indeed, it is probable that there were several artists in the Elmelunde workshop who collaborated in decorating churches in the area as other emblems and various in style have been observed.
The warm colours ranging from dark red and russet to yellow, green, grey and black are distinctive. Another typical feature is the expressionless faces of the sleepy-eyed people, turned to the left or right while their bodies face the front. All the images, including the surrounding stonework, are decorated with ornaments such as stars, plants and trees. The images themselves appear to have been inspired partly from block-prints from a Dutch or German Biblia Pauperum, a book containing some 40 pages of drawings depicting stories from the Bible. Other sources probably included the Bible itself, legends, apocryphal writings and other illustrations. Initially, the wall paintings appear to have covered the entire church including the lower parts of the walls which are now whitewashed. Traces of work in these areas have been found but the images were not sufficiently clear to warrant restoration.
The church contains a number of other interesting features. The choir, renovated in the 17th century, consists of an impressive altarpiece, the original candlesticks and a new altar. The ornate pulpit is from about 1645 and bears Christian IV's emblem. Among the carved figures are Christ, Jacob, St Peter and one of the apostles. A new organ built by Frobenius & Sønner with 10 stops, two keyboards and a pedalboard, was installed in 1998.References:
The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.
A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.
In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.
In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.
In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.
From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.
In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.
The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.
In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.
The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.