St. Severin is a Lutheran parish church named after the 4th-century bishop Severin of Cologne. Built in the Romanesque style and first documented in 1240, the church stands back from the town at a higher elevation. The tower was built around 1450 and served as a navigation mark for seafarers as well as a prison.
The site upon which the church now stands initially housed a sanctuary to Odin and was used for the worship of Germanic gods. According to legend, the Danish king Canute the Great (995–1035) provided money and stones for a church to be built in Keitum. The first documented reference to the church dates from 1240. It was probably initially dedicated to St Canute. Tests recently carried out by Hamburg University's Institut für Holzbiologie indicate that the building's roof rafters are from 1216, making the church the oldest in Schleswig-Holstein. The wood used in other parts of the church appears to have the same origin, indicating that not only the nave but also the chancel and the apse can also be dated to 1216. The tower, however, is more recent, from the mid-15th century.
As a result of the plague in 1350 and the Grote Mandrenke storm in 1362, the island was depopulated and the church abandoned. Missionaries from the Archdiocese of Cologne restored the islanders' faith, dedicating the church to St. Severin in memory of the 4th-century bishop of Cologne. In 1544, the church became Lutheran.
The nave, recessed chancel and the semicircular apse are built of naturally coloured granite blocks, white-plastered tuff and brick. Evidence of the Romanesque style can be seen in the apse's east window. Cross-arched and stepped freizes decorate the exterior of the apse while zigzag and lozenge designs top the nave and chancel walls. While the windows on the north side of the chancel exhibit only minor adaptations to the Gothic style, the five on either side of the nave are clearly pointed. The almost square-shaped tower is the only Gothic brick structure on the island. It served not only as a bell tower but as a refuge and until 1806 as a prison. Visible from afar, it was used by seafarers as a landmark. Following an accident in 1740, access to the tower room was bricked up but it was reopened in 1981 as an extension to the nave. As the former 15th-century south porch is now used as a vestry, the main entrance to the church is now on the north side.
The interior of the church was refurbished in 1985 - the wooden panels, pews and fittings were restored to their original light green colour. Remains of a fresco of the Last Judgment on the north matroneum were revealed. The choir is separated from the nave by a chancel arch while a second arch leads into the half-dome of the apse.
Dating from 1230, the oldest piece in the church is the Bentheim sandstone baptismal font which stands on a base with four lions at the corners. The Late Gothic altarpiece from about 1480 is probably the work of the Lübeck imperialissima master carver. It depicts God the Father with the Risen Christ flanked by Mary with the infant Jesus and Bishop Severin. The wings of the triptych display the figures of the Apostles. The predella presents a local painting of the Last Supper (1705). The scenes of the Passion on the back of the altarpiece are badly damaged. The early Renaissance pulpit (1580) comes from Møgeltønder in Denmark. The panels present coats of arms and the Christian virtues: faith, temperance and justice.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.