St. Nicholas' Church

Stralsund, Germany

St. Nicholas' Church is the oldest of the three major parish churches of the Hanseatic city of Stralsund. The construction began as a hall church with a tower in 1234, after Stralsund acquired city rights. After 1270, the unfinished St. Nicholas' Church was rebuilt as a basilica, following the design of St. Mary's Church in Lübeck. The just-completed choir of the church hall had to be demolished to make way for the choir of the new basilica, which consisted of an inner choir and an ambulatory. Around the chancel, which consisted of five sides of an imaginary octagon, five chapels were created. In the beginning, the building material of the church building was brick. Over the course of time, at least 65 different types of stone were used.

The construction of the western tower began in 1300. By 1314, the tower had reached a height of 13 meters. At that time, the council decided to build two towers. Around 1350, the construction of the nave between the two towers was completed. The buttresses of the aisles were connected externally to create space in the interior. The buttresses were thus drawn inward and vaulted chapels were built in the space freed up between the towers. Of the two towers, the south tower was first completed, probably in the early 15th century. This was followed by the completion of construction of the north tower. The two Gothic towers were equally high.

The wealth of the city of Stralsund was reflected in the very large number of altars in the church. There were no less than 56 altars in the chancel, nave, and between the buttresses of the aisles. The bulk of the altars were removed from the church after the Bildersturm of 1525. Since the introduction of Reformation, the chapels were mainly used as spaces for burying distinguished citizens.

A fire in 1662 destroyed the wooden spires of the towers. In 1667, the southern tower was provided with a Baroque dome, while the northern tower was closed with a temporary roof. During the American bombing of Stralsund on October 6, 1944, the roof and windows of St. Nicholas' Church were damaged. Repairs started in 1947.

The high altar was made by a Stralsund sculptor around 1480. The altar of the tailors' guild, built at the end of the 15th century and placed in a privileged position near the high altar, has preserved. The mayor's altar (1510), the altar of the Junge family (1430), the so-called 'altar of the Bergen merchants', the altars of the basketmakers and saddlemakers, and the Olav altar also still exist.

In the north ambulatory, there is a statue of Anna Selbdritt (Virgin and Child with Saint Anne) dating back to the late 13th century. The statue shows the remnants of the original paint and is one of the earliest statues of Anna Selbdritt in the Baltic region.

Behind the high altar is the astronomical clock, which was built in 1394 by Nikolaus Lilienfeld. The clock is part of a whole series of monumental clocks, which were installed since the 14th century in churches in different cities of the Hanseatic League. It has a wheel train with a mechanical escapement. In addition to day and night times, the positions of the sun, moon, and fixed stars can also be read off the clock. It is the oldest almost completely preserved astronomical clock in the Baltic region and also the oldest mechanical clock in the world that still contains its original wheels.

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Details

Founded: 1234
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

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User Reviews

Thorsten Fitzner (2 years ago)
Eine der beeindruckendsten Kirchen, die ich bisher gesehen habe. Welch ein grandioses, erhaltenswertes Kulturgut! Aber weiterhin dringend sanierungsbedürftig. Das ist der Grund, warum hier Eintritt verlangt wird. Wer nicht bereit ist, für das, was hier geboten wird 3,-€ zu berappen, tut mir leid. Beschreiben ist zwecklos. Muss man gesehen haben!
Maik Kolomaznik (2 years ago)
Sehr interessant. Muss man mal gesehen haben. Auch die Geschichte der Kirche wird erläutert.
Monika S (2 years ago)
Auch nur von aussen dieses Mal ist diese Backstein Kirche und ihr schöner Eingang ( mit Zugang auch durch das Rathaus) ein markantes gotisches Bauwerk des 13. Jahrhunderts, die verschiedenen Bedachungen der Türme zieren sie aber erst seit dem 18. Jahrhundert.
Antje Burghardt (2 years ago)
Sensationell schöne und vielfältige Kirche mit reicher, künstlerisch wertvoller Ausstattung und vielen Highlights. Für die Fortführung der denkmalgerechten Sanierung ist jeder Euro und jede Spende sehr willkommen. Unbedingt anschauen und staunen... Es lohnt sich unbedingt
syafa haack (3 years ago)
You need to pay a ticket here.
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