Schelfkirche St. Nikolai, © Oliver Borchert

It is a rare beauty - the only pure brick Baroque church in the West Mecklenburg region. An architectural cousin of the Michel in Hamburg. Worth seeing is the crypt of the Mecklenburg dukes. The church is open daily and can be visited.

The Schelfkirche is enthroned directly on the Schelfmarkt. The half-timbered houses that surround the church seem almost crouched in front of so much grandeur. Only the tall linden trees do not seem to shy away from the comparison with the church tower.

A church probably already stood on this site in the Middle Ages. When the previous building was severely damaged in a storm, Duke Friedrich Wilhelm ordered that a new church be built. From 1708 onwards, construction work is carried out under the leadership of the engineer captain Jacob Reutz. The first important new church in Mecklenburg after the turmoil of the Reformation and the Thirty Years' War was built as a baroque central building with a Greek cross as its ground plan - a rarity. Reutz did not live to see the consecration of his building in 1713; he died three years earlier.

Ducal crypt
And also client Friedrich Wilhelm follows his master builder Reutz and dies before the Schelfkirche is completely finished. He is buried in the new duke's crypt under the altar. Until the beginning of the 19th century, the Schelfkirche served as the princely burial place for 17 members of the ducal family of Mecklenburg. Even a Prussian queen (Sophie Louise) was laid to rest here, but mistakes made during the remodeling in the middle of the 19th century put a strain on the magnificent coffins. They were successfully saved: in 2008, on the 300th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone, the crypt was reopened to the public. Today, the restored coffins can be seen again in their place in the church.


Reutz's successor as master builder has the interior of the church rebuilt in such a way that the special cross shape of the room is lost. In 1858, shortly after the ruling dynasty moved back into the new fairy-tale Schwerin Castle, the church was remodeled and furnished according to the plans of the engineer captain Reutz. The result is a tasteful combination of Baroque splendor and Nordic sobriety, and from that time on its rooms also resound with a striking organ by the famous Mecklenburg organ builder Friedrich Friese III. Today, the Schelfkirche with its beautiful atmosphere, stained glass windows, carved pews and altar paintings is a sought-after venue for concerts.

Opening hours

The Schelfkirche is open daily from morning to evening. Core opening hours are 11 am - 4 pm. Information material about the history and the duke's crypt is available for guests in the church. Guided tours and tower tours are available by appointment. (Contact sexton here)

Approach/ Location/ Parking

The Schelfkirche is located in the center of the baroque district Schelfstadt on the Schelfmarkt surrounded by centuries old lime trees. It is about 500 m from the Altstädtischer Markt to the church portal. Some short-term parking spaces are located on Schelfmarkt in the immediate vicinity. It is recommended to use the parking garages of the city (900 m walking distance), or the old town parking lot in the Grüne Straße.

Picture gallery

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Schelfkirche Schwerin

19055 Schwerin


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