Monday, August 15, 2011

St. Nikolai Church
Hamburg, Germany
Image courtesy: Wikipedia
Designed by George Gilbert Scott in 1846
From 1874 to 1876 this St. Nicholas Church was the tallest building in the world.
The fabulous and historic City of Hamburg - Germany's second largest city
Image courtesy: HDtimelapse
The spire of what remains of St. Nicholas Church is the tallest structure in view.
(Only the Hamburg TV tower is taller than it even today)

The first church dedicated to St. Nicholas in Hamburg was a wooden structure built along the banks of the Alster River in the 12c. The only other church in the city was St. Mary's Cathedral. In 1335 a new building made of bricks was started. Expanded upon throughout the years it stood until May of 1842 when it became the first large public building to burn in the great fire of Hamburg. 19th century man just did not have the equipment to extinguish fires in such tall buildings... The burning of the beloved church - one that had been the place of many of the Reformation debates - was extremely traumatic for the citizens of Hamburg. People did not expect the church to burn and very little of its magnificent pieces of art were saved...

Construction started on a new St. Nicholas Church in 1846 at a location just a short distance from the original one. This structure was consecrated on September 27, 1863. When the 147.3 meter high spire was completed in 1874 it became - for a couple of years - the highest building in the world!

It is ironic in a very sad way that the architect who designed this new St. Nicholas church, George Scott, was English. It was the allied bombardment of the English and American forces during WWII - who were able to get their bearings from the church's tall spire - that went a long way towards its destruction. It held out though until July 28, 1943...
What is seen today of St. Nicholas Church
Image courtesy: Wikipedia
A casualty of war...
But not only did the citizens of Hamburg rebuild their St. Nicholas Church but they took the opportunity to move it's location to the residential area of Harvestehude (the area of the original church had become an industrial region) while using the spire of the original church first as a memorial against the war and then turning it into a exhibit and events space. In 1993 a 51 bell carillon was installed as a memorial.
The Carillon of St. Nicholas Church
Image courtesy: Glockenspiel-Hamburg
New St. Nicholas Church
Hamburg - Harvestehude
Image courtesy: Wikipedia
And the community of believers lives on in this beautiful St. Nicholas Church...
Memorial to the Nazi Prisoners at the ruins of the old St. Nicholas Church in Hamburg...
Image courtesy: Wiki Word flicks
"The Ordeal"
The bricks come from Sandbostel - one of the biggest Nazi prison camps
Hamburg today from the summit of St. Nicholas Spire
Image courtesy: Wiki Word flicks
Reminding all to live peacefully... 
Just as St. Nicholas stove to do his whole life long...

25 comments:

Sara Bentley said...

That's lovely... all this info gave me goosebumps! It's so unfortunate that we (all people) need daily reminders in order to live at peace with each other...

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

That fist picture of the church is absolutely stunning. Why do we have to have wars, so sad when history just disappears in seconds. So glad that they built a new church and kept the Spire as a memorial. Take care Diane

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

Morning Ann.

A very moving statue "The Ordeal" especially as the bricks were taken from Sandbostel. I once visited 'Terezin' and was terribly moved and reminded of 'Man's inhumanity to Man'.

flowersandhome said...

Hi! Did you know there's a beautiful St Nicolas church (Stolnica Sv. Nikolaja) in Ljubljana, Slovenia. We were there recently but couldn't visit the church inside unfortunately. It's supposed to be breathtakingly beautiful.
Bye,
Love this blog btw.
Marian

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

ANN DARLIN'!

Oh my goodness. You unearth the most beautiful St. Nicolas churches.....how in the world do you do that????

Thank you for visiting! It is always so nice to connect with you. How is Sir Edward? How are YOU?

Summer was a delight. I hope yours was too, and may your new week be filed with delights. Anita

Lois Evensen said...

What an emotional history to this church. I love the spire becoming a memorial. We must always remember such events - hopefully so they will not be repeated.

Louise said...

What a stunning way to memorialize the horrors of war. It's a pity we never seem to learn the lesson that war never solves anything.

Duni said...

Oh, I've been here!
Hard to believe it was once the tallest building...
The ordeal statue is very poignant.

Patricia Cabrera said...

this is beautuful and unique. i so love old churches and how people back them took pride when they built.
thank you for sharing it!!*grin*'
Thank you so ever so much for coming to my blog and leave me a kind note. i truly appreciate.Yes, Anita is a very special woman!!!
smiles~

Out on the prairie said...

What a nice tale. Hamburg really got a beating during WWll.

June said...

Ann this is so very interesting. I love reading the history of the cathedrals. I really love the memorial honoring the Nazi prisoners. So fitting.
I hope all is well with you and that you are enjoying a beautiful Summer.
hugs from here...

imac said...

Post full of info, and whats better than that, why, its your photos my friend.

fernvalley01 said...

Wonderful pictures and history

Elaine said...

Fascinating history. That must have been a stunning church, and the spire alone is incredible. So much beauty has been destroyed by wars throughout history.

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Ann,

Thank you for sharing the history of this magnificent church.
I remember seeing this on Euro Maxx and the guide showed us around ~ looked amazing.
Wishing you a happy week

Hugs
Carolyn

Ola said...

and I am moved by the sculpture!...

Pat said...

A great post, Ann.
The church and the sculpture remind us all to strive to be better humans .. xx

Zuzana said...

Dear Ann, I am back from my break and slowly catching up with everyone.;)
Stunning images, the last one is amazing. What a view...
Hamburg is a very nice city. This stunning cathedral(church) you showcase here is so very similar to the cathedral located in Prague's castle.
Hope you (and Edward) have been well,
xoxo

Madi and Mom said...

Good morning Ms. Ann and Prince Edward...what a beautiful church you are featuring this week. The workmanship is absolutely amazing.
Hugs Madi and Mom

Martina said...

Dear Ann, such a gorgeous blog you have! Love this Hamburg post here. Have visited this town once and found it very beautiful. Wil love following you and see more of your discoveries! Havw a lovely week!

Amish Stories said...

Hello everyone from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa. Richard from Amish Stories.

troutbirder said...

Most interesting. I hope to visit there next spring..... :)

hi-d said...

What rich history you seem to uncover. I hope you're enjoying your summer.

Have a lovely weekend!
Heidi (hi-d)

Pearl Maple said...

Beautiful photos on your blog space and really enjoy the way other bloggers tell their story, makes for a smaller and nicer world when we learn from each other

Anonymous said...

Nice article. The St. Nicolas church is a rather fantastic building, and ruin. It's a must see for those who visit Hamburg.
I have read other articles about it too, and the one thing never mentioned is the people who was seeking shelter in the church when it was bombed. There is nothing about them on the internet, or anywhere else.
Everything was pretty chaotic at the time, so there might not be any records about them. But trust me, they were there, and they deserve to be remembered.