The Gedächtniskirche der Protestation ('The Memorial Church of the Protestation') was built between 1893 and 1904. It was constructed in memory of the protest that took place at the Diet of Speyer by the Protestant states of the Holy Roman Empire in 1529. The tower is the tallest bell tower in the palatinate with 100 m. Its construction was supposed to be a reminder of the protest action that the imperial evangelical states brought to bear in 1529 at the Reichstag in Speyer. The Luther memorial in the vestibule and the adjacent statues of local Protestant rulers serve as reminders of this event.
During the cultural struggles at the end of the 19th century, relationships between Catholics and Protestants were tense. That had its impact on the construction of the Memorial Church which was, under no circumstances, to be any less assertive than the Cathedral. In any event, the construction was controversial, even for evangelical Christians.
The Protestants collected donations and even gained the support of Kaiser Wilhelm II and his wife, who donated the glass window in the apse. Following the plans of Julius Flügge und Carl Nordmann, the church was built very lavishly out of white-gray Vosges sandstone.
In 1979, the organ was replaced. The current organ comes from the Detlef Kleuker workshop and is, with its 95 registers, the largest organ in southwest Germany and the second largest mechanical organ in the world.
Organ concerts and matinees take place regularly in the Memorial Church.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.