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St. Nikolai through the ages

The church building as it stands today is the result of two phases of construction. In 1332 there was a small church on the site of the modern chancel and from 1390 the present building was developed on the forecourt of this original church, starting on the west side. When the four bays on the west side were completed, they were consecrated as a church. The old church was then demolished and from 1440 onwards construction continued on the east side. St. Nikolai's was completed in 1480, though it was still without a spire. Almost immediately, however, the church was damaged during the town fire of 1485 and for the next five years underwent reconstruction. In 1497 Peter Hansen cast the bronze baptismal font in the Rote Straße. At that time the town comprised 422 inhabited plots of land, of which 143 were in the St. Nikolai district (First Land Register dated 1508). As early as 2nd December 1526, Gerhard Slewardt gave the first Lutheran sermon in Flensburg in St. Nikolai's. He went on to become the Lutheran pastor of St. Nikolai and between 1540 and 1570 he was known as the »Reformer of Flensburg«, the Provost of St Nikolai. In line with the Reformation's idea of a »church of words«, the lawyer and legal scholar Blasius Eckenberger donated the pulpit carved by Hinrich Matthes of Lübeck in 1570 and in around 1600 a staircase, probably the work of Heinrich Ringeringk, was added to it (the sound-absorbing canopy, the work of the Flensburg museum founder Heinrich Sauermann, was not installed until 1897). 1609 the organ with Heinrich Ringeringk's carved back-screen was completed and one hundred years later it was restored and completed by Arp Schnitger. The wooden lid to the baptismal font carved by Johann Zimmer was added in 1722 and Margarethe Cecilia Valentiner donated the present altar in 1749. A separate wooden bell tower was built in 1516; the tower's functions were later transferred to the extension of the churchtower, which was constructed in 1582/84 and reached a total height of 65 m. On 1st September 1877 lightning struck the spire, causing a devastating fire that completely destroyed the pyramidal spire roof and the interior of the church-tower. The organ also suffered severe damage. The spire roof was then reconstructed in a neo-gothic style, designed by church architect Johannes Otzen of Berlin. The spire is now approx. 90 m high. In 1909 a carillon was installed at a height of 60 m and its chimes can be heard daily at 9am, 12 noon, 3pm, 6pm and 9pm.