Schleswig Cathedral is the main church of Schleswig and was the cathedral of the Bishop of Schleswig until the diocese was dissolved in 1624. After the founding of Schleswig diocese in 947, the first cathedral in Schleswig was built. Today, neither the size nor the location of this cathedral is known. In 1134, construction of a new Romanesque basilica began. The work was only completed around 1200, because an additional nave was constructed that can still be seen today. Construction materials included granite, tuff from the Rhine, and brick.
After the collapse of two towers and some parts of the basilica in 1275, the High Gothic Hall Choir was constructed and completed around 1300. The Late Gothic Hall Church was built from 1200 to 1408 and was finally perfected in the 16th century. It was in 1894 that the cathedral got its final outward appearance. In 1888, when Schleswig became provincial capital, the construction of a Gothic revivalist western tower began at the request of the King William II of Prussia. It was finally completed in 1894 and was, measuring 112 metres, a little too high when compared to the proportions of the cathedral. There is a panorama platform on the tower at 65 meters which commands a great view on the city.
Beside the Gothic Altar of the Magi (ca. 1300) in the southern choir, a bronze baptismal font in the high choir by Ghert Klinghe (1480) and a four-metre-high wood carving of Christophorus, the cathedral's main attraction is the famous Bordesholm Altar.
Access to the cathedral is granted through the romanesque Petri Portal, dating back to 1180. A variety of materials were used for the portal's construction: granite, red sandstone from Skåne, limestone from Gotland and tuff from the Rhineland.
The sacristy, build around 1480, first served, indeed, as sacristy and conference room of the cathedral chapter and since 1567 as classroom for the cathedral's school. After the Reformation, it was converted to a Fürstengruft (tomb for the princes) as tomb for the dukes of Holstein-Gottorp.
Bishop Berthold arranged for an expansion of the High Choir at the end of the 13th century. Also, frescos were added, depicting the Annunciation, the Coronation of Mary, St. Catherine, St. Philippus, St. Peter, Deesis and angels. The choir banks were manufactured by an unknown artist working under the pseudonym Magister rusticus at the beginning of the 16th century.
The three-winged cloisters at the northern end of the nave, were constructed from 1310 to 1320, called the Schwahl. The name has its root in the Danish-Low German dialect and means 'cold alley'. It was used mainly for processions that left and re-entered the church on that way. Here, restored frescos from the church's foundation can be found. They show the life of Christ as well as a selection of legendary creatures. During Advent, a small art market takes place in the cloisters.
The altar, carved by Hans Brüggemann from 1514 to 1521 is the cathedral's main attraction. The oak wood altar, carved from 1514 to 1521, is 12.60 meters high and depicts biblical history from Christ's arrest to Ascension. Originally, the altar was manufactured for the Augustinian church in Bordesholm. After the priory's dissolution, the Duke Christian Albrecht of Holstein-Gottorp arranged for the altar's transfer to Schleswig Cathedral in 1666. A young Emil Nolde helped with the altar's restoration in Flensburg at the end of the 19th century.
In the northern choir nave, an elegant renaissance cenotaph for Frederick I, King of Denmark and Norway and Duke of Schleswig and Holstein, can be found. The tombstone, created for the choir in 1552 and put up there, was moved to its current position in 1901. It was called one of the 'masterpieces of Dutch renaissance art in Northern Europe' (M. Mehling). Its creator is the Flemish sculptor Cornelis Floris de Vriendt. Instead of the usual seven virtues, the (empty) sarcophagus stands only on six.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.