The Parchim 'new town' and St. Mary’s Church parish were mentioned for the first time in historical documents dating to 1249: a new town market and St. Mary’s Church with 54-metre high steeple were built at this time. St. Mary's church steeple was finished in 1300 and its silhouette became a well-known landmark in the town. St. Mary’s Church is the oldest preserved building in Parchim and is regarded as one of the most magnificent examples of late Romanesque sacral architecture in Mecklenburg, the church also showing clear early gothic influences. In the 15th century, the church was enlarged on its a northern side, an annex being added and its western gable was renovated in a High Gothic style. Many of the original parts of the building remain standing today. After the northern wing of the building was separated around 1980, the original character of the three-aisle hall church was restored. The side aisles are only half the width of the central aisle, which is crowned by rectangular bays. Thus the interior has gothic proportions with clear emphasis on the building's vertical lines. In the church’s aisles, the visitor finds traces of the the transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic eras.
The clustered columns built on octagonal pedestals that support the church's clearly date to the 13th century, and are quiet different from the ribbed vaulting added in the 14th century. Annexes added to the church's northern wing are clearly Gothic: the annexes feature two bays and a star-shaped vault. The exterior of the Brick Gothic endear themselves to visitors through their rich decoration: you'll find typical German Gothic trimming and round-arched frescos beneath the eaves; strong lisenes at the corners of the annexes, quadrilateral frescos and triangular gables decorated with panels. The church’s interior features a valuable brass baptism font (1365), a beautifully sculptured wing altar (around 1500), a Renaissance-era pulpit and organ pipes as wide as the church itself (installed in the 17th century). The most significant historical of these cultural-historical monuments are the altar, the pulpit and and a seat designed for the use of town councillors.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.