The Sainte-Madeleine Church was built in Gothic style in the late 15th century, but largely rebuilt in a style close to Jugendstil after a devastating fire in 1904. Destroyed again during World War II, the church was re-constructed in its modern form. This is the fourth building dedicated to Mary Magdalene built in the city since the 13th century. The church is classified as a historic monument by a decree of 6 December 1898.
The first convent dedicated to Mary Magdalene was built in 1225 on the outskirts of the city of Strasbourg, on the site of the current place de la République. The institution, which welcomed repentant prostitutes, was evacuated and then destroyed around 1470, since the city feared imminent invasion by the armies of the Duke of Burgundy.
A new convent was rebuilt in the Krutenau district. The Gothic church of the convent of the sisters of the order of St. Mary Magdalene, completed in 1478, was destroyed by fire in 1904. All that remains of this church, the last Gothic structure built in Strasbourg, is the choir housing fragments of some frescoes. It now serves as a chapel, dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament. Remains of the once abundant stained glass windows that decorated the church are shown in the Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame. John Calvin had made sermons and directed services in that church.
The current church, which is perpendicular to the earlier building, was built in 1907 according to plans by Fritz Beblo and is more spacious and airy. It has a barrel vault, based on the model of St. Michael's Church, Munich and a conspicuous belltower. Severely damaged by Anglo-American bombing on 11 August 1944, it was rebuilt, true to Beblo's original, in 1958.
A part of the former cloisters from the earlier convent can still be seen, surrounding the adjacent school building.
An organ was purchased from Andreas Silbermann on 17 February 1716 and was completed in 1718. It had a manual and an echo - on a specific keyboard - and separate pedals. The instrument was sold in 1799 to the city of Lampertheim, before vanishing in 1876.
The church then owned a first Roethinger organ, which was destroyed during the bombing of 1944. It was then endowed with a second Roethinger organ, which was inaugurated by Michel Chapuis and Robert Pfrimmer on 28 November 1965. It was completely rebuilt by Michel Wolf of Manufacture d'orgues alsacienne in 1997 and 1998, but the harmonization was not modified. Work was done on the cabinet in 2004. The organ was then restored by the firm of Alfred et Daniel Kern, which replaced the keyboards.References:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.