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Encyclopedia > St. Nikolai, Hamburg
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The former main church pc. Nikolai in Hamburg is a church ruin, a memorial and an important architectural object of interest of the city. If in Hamburg of "the Nikolaikirche" the speech is, then the building described here is usually meant and not the new main church pc. Nikolai, which is located in the quarter Harvestehude.



The today's condition of the Nikolaikirche is the result of air raids in 2. World war, the large outline in the year 1951 as well as of repair works into the 1990er years. For the re-establishment of the ruin as memorial is responsible the 1987 created promotion circle saves the Nikolaikirche e.V., that with its work of the city Hamburg, the church municipality pc. Nikolai and different firm sponsors and private donors is supported. The association procures the preservation of the built volumes, the salvage of found rubble parts and the adjustment of meetings and exhibitions in the Nikolaikirche and in a dokumentationszentrum, which was put on in the crypt


Earlier constructions

With the establishment of the Nikolaisiedlung and the plant of a Alsterhafens in 12. One established a chapel in the area of the today's hop market, which the holy Nikolaus to century, which protection patron of the navigation was geweiht. In this way after that Hamburg cathedral the second church in developing Hamburg was established - first as wood building. In the year 1335 (briefly before raging black death) with a bricked new building one began. It concerned a dreischiffige resounding church in typically north Germans the style of the so-called brick gothic. (an impression from this architectural style mediated today still the Petrikirche, those from the same time originates and after its destruction 1842 following the old appearance one rebuilt.) This building had 19 up to the center. Century existence, was however changed again and again and extended - and had to withstand also several times heavy destruction. 1589 burned that only 1517 down established, 153 meters high tower, and 1644 collapsed the again established tower. The old Nikolaikirche received the last tower 1657 from the architect Peter Marquardt. The so-called Marquardt tower was 122 meters high and applied with its characteristic domes as landmark of the city and special decoration of its silhouette. When one of the four Hamburg Kirchspiele was the Nikolaikirche into all theological arguments involved center, which were delivered in the city, in particular the reformation. After 1524 the minister Henning Kissenbruegge had withdrawn, the citizens Johannes Bugenhagen selected a formed Reformer as ministers, and trusted Martin Luther - a procedure, which was at that time actually intended. The conservative advice of the city could prevent its appointment however first, by inducing Kissenbruegge to remaining, not however the general development to stop, in their course lutherische ministers in Hamburg was selected - in pc. Nikolai after Kissenbruegges final way course of the Magdeburger Johann Zegenhagen. The reformation carried out itself peacefully, and 1528 appeared Bugenhagen in Hamburg and became a prediger in pc. Nikolai. Above all it gave a church order, which organization, finances and other affairs (as for example the school enterprise to the city Hamburg) of the churches regulated. This church order had 200 years existence. The end of the old Nikolaikirche came in May 1842, as it as the first large, public building the flames of the large fire from Hamburg to the victim fell. The destruction of the Nikolaikirche is described of chroniclers as particularly moving event, which those Hamburg citizen shook deeply and them for the first time the extent of the fire disaster before eyes led, whose worst devastations of the city were still approaching at this time. The main service had been able to break the midday service off in the morning 5 of May still in the church to be held, had the candidate Wendt, which had substituted the minister Carl Moenckeberg, - it ended with a fuerbitte for the receipt of the church. One obviously counted not quite on the loss of the church - art treasures were hardly saved. Over the fire the tower seized about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Despite desperate efforts it did not succeed to contain the tower fire since the insufficient delete technology did not make it possible to carry water in sufficient quantity on the tower. Finally it collapsed and transferred the flames to the church ship, which down-burned completely.

Gothical new construction

After the end Hamburg fire developed already briefly the resolution to develop the church again. 1843 were begun a so-called "Schilling collection" as donation action, and 1844 wrote the commission of building of churches out an architectural competition, which the architect Gottfried Semper with the draft of a Roman domed structure, born in Altona, won. This draft was not put however into practice. On the one hand the commission may have induced the consideration to this decision that such a building would not insert itself into that Hamburg townscapes well, on the other hand 1842 with the building of far of the medieval Cologne cathedral had been begun, and the new appreciation of the gothical architectural style seized also Hamburg, which had torn off its medieval cathedral church still in the year 1805. One let a new draft make therefore from the English architect George Gilbert Scott, which had already acquired itself in England a name with the restoration of medieval churches and as a connoisseur and advocate of the gothical architectural style applied. Final draft ScottsScotts draft had a 86 meter long, dreischiffiges nave, whose gewoelbe up to 28 was meters high, in addition a einschiffiges transverse house. Architecture is strongly of the French gothic affected, likewise of the English. The pointed, broken through polygonal spire is typically German. The extensive in sandstone gehauene sculpture program was unusual in the interior, in Pinakeln and on the tower. The new building of churches developed a small piece southeast from the old location, approximately at the place, where once the new castle confessed. The commencement of construction was 1846, and on 27 September 1863 the construction work was so far final that the church could be inaugurated. The building 147.3 m of the high tower was terminated only 1874. Thus the Nikolaikirche up to the completion of the cathedral of Rouen was in the year 1876 the highest building of the world. After the TV tower the Nikolaiturm is still today the second highest building of Hamburg

World War II

As the highest collection the tower of the Nikolaikirche the pilots of the allied Air Forces served the city as a goal and orienting point with all air raids on Hamburg. On 28 July 1943 the church was heavily damaged by aerial bombs. The roof collapsed, whereby the inside of the church ship suffered heavy damage. The walls were likewise concerned and got tears, stopped however to a large extent; likewise the tower.

After World War II

The basic structure that gothical construction had remained in the war to a large extent intact and the built volumes was general in a condition, which let a reconstruction appear realistic. One decided nevertheless to tear the church ship off and leave untouched only the tower. In addition financial considerations contributed, on the other hand the church municipality pc. Nikolai had decided to establish their traditional range, within which in the meantime hardly still dwellings were, too left and a new church building in the residential area a Harvestehude on the one hand. 1951 were broken off the church ship; the rubble was used partially for the bank stabilization at the Elbe. GedenkstaetteDer outline of the valuable again-gothical architectural monument encountered the at that time straight in the population regret, excited in addition, not in particular the mind in the city, again the way to an arranged life did not find and more important tasks before itself to have seen likes than the restoration of destroyed churches. Differently as the Michaeliskirche pulled in the war likewise strongly in the Nikolaikirche did not apply also than important of Hamburg landmarks. The tower and some wall remainders stopped and to the memorial against the war were umgewidmet, but over decades its condition remained relatively ungepflegt and without special organization, and they were exposed to the gradual purge. This bad state took itself since 1987 the promotion circle saves the Nikolaikirche e.V. on, furnished the received built volumes reorganized and a so-called meeting place (an area for meetings and exhibitions) in the crypt to which. The association tries besides to relocate the 1951 taken away rubble; thus for example in November 2000 some rubble parts from the Haseldorfer Binnenelbe were lifted. A reconstruction after the model of the woman church in Dresden is however intended. Since the 1.September 2005 it is possible to drive with an elevator inside the tower on 75.3 meters a prospect platform lain highly from which one has a good view over Hamburg and in particular the nearby memory city.



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