Churches at the Schlei and Baltic SeaStatements of faith from fieldstone churches to cathedrals
Chrches at Schlei and Baltic Sea
Having a closer look at the churches between Schleswig and Gelting
By the end of the Viking era, the conversion to Christianity began in the region of the Schlei and Baltic Sea. Soon, the first monasteries and churches were built. Today, the Cathedral of St. Peter at Schleswig is the most significant and best-known church at the Schlei. The cornerstone of this imposing church was laid in 1134. Schleswig Cathedral is particularly famous for the Bordesholm Altar triptych and for the “Schwahl”, which is an elaborately painted cloister.
The numerous village churches, many of which are Romanesque fieldstone churches, merge perfectly in the scenery of the Schlei and Baltic Sea region. Many of these churches of medieval origin, such as those in Brodersby and Ulsnis, are still intact today.
Overview of the churches between Schleswig and Gelting
What about your next curch service?
- Arnis: Schifferkirche (Seafarers‘ Church)
In 1667, 64 families fled Kappeln to escape the bonds of serfdom and founded the city of Arnis, building a church in 1673. Worth a look inside are the pulpit with its inscription from 1573 and the four votive model ships hanging from the ceiling – tokens of thanks from sailors saved from peril on the high seas.
- Rabenkirchen-Faulück: St. Marien Chruch
From the outside, the Marienkirche in Rabenkirchen looks like a castle. Its construction began in the late 12th century, and today displays a wide mix of architectural styles. During restoration work in 1912, painted murals were discovered that are completely unique in this region. The organ, dating from 1697, is a jewely among the church organs of the North Elbian region.
- Ulsnis: St. Willehad Church
On a small height a short distance from the village stands one of the prettiest village churches of the region. The St. Willehad church with its freestanding wooden belfry is a good example of the many other churches erected in a similar architectural style along both shores of the Schlei between 1150 and 1200.
- Taarstedt: St. Annen Church
This fieldstone church was built around the year 1150 A.D. Three bells hang in the wooden belfry on the west side. Particularly impressive sights inside are the granite baptismal font from the 12th century, a larger-than-life crucifix from the 15th century, the organ case with its depictions of the 12 apostles, and the mediaeval side altar.
- Brodersby: St. Andreas Church
High above the Brodersbyer Noor stands the St. Andreas Church, which has retained its original layout with a short, right-angled nave and square box choir. A black, wooden belfry leans against its whitewashed walls, and is lower than the roof of the church itself.
- Kahleby: St. Marien Church
The first documentary reference to this church dates from 1196 A.D. Its elaborate painted decorating from 1901/07 is particularly striking, with its patron Mary on the left and John the Baptist on the right. The baptismal font from the 13th century is the oldest artwork in the church. The late Gothic crucifix is made in the form of a tree of life: from the wood of death, new vines grow as a symbol of new life.
- Uelsby: Jakobus Church
This late Romanesque church sited on an alley is built of brick and dressed stone. Inside, it features a quadrangular choir behind the quire arch, an altarpiece depicting the Last Supper and with additional oil paintings, a chancel with carved decorations from 1610/20, a wooden epitaph, and a late Gothic altar shrine.
- Karby: Karby Church
This lovely early Gothic brick church in the centre of Karby was built around 1300 A.D. The tower dates from approximately 1500, and the weather side was given a new facade in 1851. The church is believed to have burnt down three times. Particularly noteworthy is the chancel, dating from 1592 and believed to be the work of the renowned pictorial carver Hans Gudewerdt the Elder.
- Waabs: Marien Church
The oldest parts of this church date from the Gothic period. The massive tower was added toward the end of the 16th century, giving it the shape it retains today. The church houses some notable artwork, including an early Gothic baptismal font and Gothic wood carvings. The Renaissance murals in the chancel are also worth a look.
- Rieseby: St. Petri Church
This symbol of Rieseby dates to the 13th century. Particularly popular for weddings, the St. Petri Church is an impressive example of the brick architecture of the period. The picturesque churchyard and cemetery only heighten its charm. Inside the church, the Baroque altar is a clear focal point.
- Kosel: Sankt Laurentius Church
This church is one of three round tower churches in the Schleswig region. It’s not certain when the church was originally built, but the western part of the altar area, built in the second half of the 12th century, was probably vaulted in the 13th century. In the 16th century, an annexe existed on the south side of the church, likely a sacristy or burial chapel.
- Schleswig: St. Petri Dom (St. Petri Cathedral)
The cornerstone of this imposing church was laid in 1134. Schleswig Cathedral is particularly famous for the Bordesholm Altar triptych, a masterpiece by Hans Brüggemann, and for the „Schwahl“, an elaborately painted cloister. The observation platform 65 metres above the ground is also well worth the climb.
- Schleswig: Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Trinity Church)
This church and congregation was founded by the widow Elisabeth Beling in 1650. The chancel, baptismal font, and candelabra are part of the original equipment of the church. The organ case is from 1688, the altar from 1712, and the pews and interior spaces were remodeled in Neo-Baroque style in 1901, creating a harmonic appearance. All artworks on display were donated by members of the congregation.
- Haddeby (Hedeby): St. Andreas Church
It is said that St. Andreas is on the foundation walls of the wooden church that „Apostle of the North“ Ansgar had built in the year 849 A.D. Inside, the processional cross (1240), baptismal font (circa 1250), and a first altarpiece with three finials are worth inspecting more closely. The altar triptych (circa 1450) shows the Annunciation and Coronation of Mary.
- Moldenit: St. Jakobus Church
This fieldstone church dates from the 12th century A.D. On the northern side is a plank door which is the stuff of local legend: supposedly, the Devil tried to prevent a wedding from taking place and threw a chain at the bridal couple. However, the couple had already safely crossed the threshold into the church. Instead, the chain left visible marks in the church wall above the door.
- Kappeln: St. Nikolai Church
This late Baroque church was constructed toward the end of the 18th century by Johann Adam Richter. One must-see item here is a small wooden crucifix from the 13th century, which may already once have hung in the chapel that gave its name to the city of Kappeln.
- Maasholm: Petri Church
Maasholm only received a church of its own about 50 years ago. The Petrikirche, a simple sailor’s church, was built on a small hill and dedicated on November 22nd, 1952. From this elevation, visitors have a beautiful view across the broad bays of the lower Schlei, all the way to Buckhagen, Rabel, and Ellenberg.
- Gundelsby: Christ Church
Wilhelm Voigt from Kiel was tasked with constructing this church in 1908. The church is an eastward-oriented gabled structure. Its Art Nouveau-style wooden altarpiece depicts the Crucifixion, while the small side panels show the blessing of the children and the resurrection of the daughters of Jairus. The parsonage is built in the cottage style.
- Gelting: St. Katharinen Church
This brick Gothic church was originally built in the 14th century by the local von Ahnefeld family for their vassals living in Gelting. The foyer with the southern portal dates from this time. The three bells of the church are hung in a freestanding wooden belfry which is typical for the region.
- Groß-Quern: St. Nicolai Church
With its 23-metre-long nave, the late Romanesque fieldstone building is one of the most stately village churches of the region. The massive, slightly tilting church tower was added during the Gothic period. The interior paintings by E.G. Hansing are well worth a look.
- Esgrus: St. Marien Church
This massive, looming fieldstone church from the 12th century A.D. is among the oldest houses of worship in Angeln. Beneath its brick tower from the 15th century is a crypt for the nearby Rundhof estate. The cemetery is worth a look, and contains some trees planted more than 700 years ago.
- Neukirchen: Village Church
Duke Johann the Younger (1545 – 1622) built this "new church" on the Baltic Sea, a simple brick structure with a wooden beam ceiling. Inside is an altarpiece depicting a Pesach lamb, which was painted over during the Third Reich and rediscovered during restoration work. The Ringeringk chancel of 1717 was originally located in Glücksburg Castle.
- Steinbergkirche: St. Martin Church
The eastern half of the church nave and the rectangular chancel are part of a Romanesque fieldstone church from the late 12th century. Over the course of the centuries, the church was expanded again and again; additions in the Romanesque, Gothic, and Rococo styles are clearly visible today. The pulpit from 1640 is a magnificent example of early „earlobe style“ Baroque art.
- Sterup: St. Laurentius Church
This 13th-century church was founded as a local chapel of St. Marien in Esgrus. In 1887/88, the wooden tower to the west was replaced with a 52-metre-tall brick tower. Inside, the late Gothic winged altar (circa 1500) and side altar (16th century) and the slatted portrait of Hans Breckenfeld (1751) are worth seeing. The church organ is modern.