St. Mary's Church is the biggest of three town churches in the Hanseatic city of Rostock. St. Mary's was designated in 1265 as the main parish church and since the Protestant Reformation in 1531 it's the house of a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran State Church of Mecklenburg.
St. Mary's Church is a large Brick Gothic church. It was enlarged and modified at the end of the 14th century into the present basilica. The first reference to a church on this site is in 1232, which is thought to be the predecessor of the current building. The triple-nave cross-shaped basilica is in Brick Gothic, a building style typical of the Hanseatic port cities of northern Germany. The huge tower with a baroque lantern at the top was not completed until the end of the 18th century.
The high altar was built in 1721 by a Berlin craftsman, mainly from painted wood. The Renaissance style pulpit was made by Rudolf Stockmann in 1574. It was the first item of decoration to be installed in St. Mary's Church after the Reformation. Decorated with scenes from the passion of Jesus and a baroque abat-voix from 1723, the pulpit now creates the effect of a unit. To get over the poor acoustics in St. Mary's, the pulpit was built in the middle of the church to ensure closeness to the congregation.
The monumental south portal window of the transept with a height of 26 meters shows The Day of Judgement. It is one of the largest single stained glass windows in Europe and was made by ' Tyrolean stained glass Innsbruck ' from 1894 till 1904. It survived the Second World War in various states of disrepair. It was thoroughly restored between 2003 and 2008 by a Mecklenburgean master from Dresden and equipped with a protective glazing.
The Bronze font from 1290 is one of the oldest pieces in St. Mary's. The font is decorated with scenes from the life and passion of Jesus. The font is carried by four kneeling men and the lid is crowned by a bronze eagel. According to the inscription, the basin was founded for Easter 1290 and the work was carried out in a Rostock workshop. During the World War II the Bronze font was hidden somewhere in Mecklenburg by the church staff to prevent it from being melted down for war material.
The late gothic St. Roch altar is a sidealtar of once 39 in this church. Manufactured from oak wood in 1530 the master carver can probably be found in the circles around carver Benedict Dreyer of Lübeck. In the centre of the shrine is the patron Saint Roch. An angel points to the plague spot, the attribute of the deadly disease. Roch is a saint of Black Death and it is assumed that the altar was built and set up in connection with Black Death epidemics which also ravaged in Rostock.
The huge baroque facade of the 'Marienorgel' was designed and built in 1770 by Paul Schmidt, organ builder of Rostock. Because of faults in the wind supply, it did not fulfill the expectations and it was completely rebuilt in 1793 by Ernst Marx of Berlin. Further modifications were undertaken at the end of the 19th century. In 1938, the organ was rebuilt again by the Sauer firm of Frankfurt/Oder. Today, it contains 83 stops with 5.700 pipes, playable by electro-pneumatic action on four manuals and pedal. About 30 stops have been retained from the previous instruments.
In the 1942 heavy air raids by the Royal Air Force, which lasted three days, much of Rostock was destroyed. The sexton of St. Mary's Mr. Bombowski saved the church by decisive action. Although three incendiary bombs smashed through the roof of the tower, he extinguished the fire with the help from his daughter and a German auxiliary airforce commando. Inside the church is a famous picture by the painter Egon Tschirch from 1947 which depicts St. Mary's Church surrounded by ruins.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.