St. James' Church is one of the five principal churches of Hamburg. The history of the church goes back to 1255 when St. James' was a small chapel located outside the Hamburg city walls. After these were extended in 1260, it became part of the Hamburg city territory.
Between 1350 and 1400, the chapel was replaced by a hall church with three naves, similar to St. Peter's. Around one hundred years later, a fourth nave was added to the south side of the structure. The sacristy in the northeast also comes from this time (1438) and is today Hamburg's only example of secular gothic architecture.
From 1806 to 1813, when Hamburg was occupied by Napoleonic troops, the church was used mainly as stables.
The second tower, erected in 1826-1827 after the previous one had become dilapidated, was destroyed in 1944, along with the rest of the church building, by bombing during World War II. Only the historic interior furnishings were saved. It was not until 1963 that St. James' re-emerged, built to the medieval design, albeit with a modern spire.
The famous Arp Schnitger organ of 1693 in the west gallery is, with its 60 registers and around 4,000 pipes, is the largest baroque organ in Northern Europe. From 1989 to 1993, the organ was completely restored, and since its rededication at Easter 1993 it can be heard every Sunday during services.
The 34 pictures in the organ gallery are the works of Otto Wagenfeldt and Joachim Lundt. They were created to portray the Bible in illustrations which everyone could appreciate and understand.
St. James' has three medieval altars: the Holy Trinity Altar in the Main Choir (c. 1518, the St. Peter Altar in the first south nave (1508), and the St. Luke Altar in the second south nave (1500) that originally comes from the Hamburg Cathedral.
Also worthy of notice is the Ministers' Room, which originally served as a library. Since 1543, it has been the collection room of the Cathedral ministers, and was remodelled in 1710. The ceiling murals, with their civic virtues, show the importance of maintaining parish to the city regiment. They were painted, like the landscape paintings on the wall, by Johann Moritz Riesenberger. Coats of arms on the walls name the pastors, vicars, and jurors who have served the parish since the sixteenth century.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.