"Schelfkirche" St. Nikolai
She is a rare beauty- the only baroque church made of brick in western Mecklenburg. Its style reminds many of the famous Sankt Michaelis church in Hamburg. Visitors cannot only admire the church, but also the graves of the Dukes of Mecklenburg during the daily opening hours.
Most likely, there has been a church at today’s location since the medieval times. But it took a storm to almost completely destroy the historic construction that Duke Friedrich Wilhelm ordered a new church to be built on this very spot. Beginning in 1708, led by the engineer Jacob Reutz, the Schelfkirche St. Nikolai became the first newly constructed church after horrors of the Thirty Year’s War. The baroque main building has a foundation shaped like a Greek cross, which is a rarity. Unfortunately, Reutz did not live to witness the final result of his work, as he passed away three years before the construction was finished.
Duke Friedrich Wilhelm also passed away soon after his architect. His remains were buried under the altar in the new ducal crypt. Up to the early 19th century, 17 members of the family of the Duke of Mecklenburg were buried in the Schelfkirche. Even a Prussian queen (Sophie Louise) is resting in piece there. Unfortunately, carelessness during the reconstruction in the midst of the 19th century damaged some of the coffins, as mold started to grow in the crypt. Luckily, they could be saved and the crypt could be presented to the public just in time for its 300. anniversary in 2008.
Today, visitors can see the coffins at their original spots in the church.
Architect Reutz’ successor decided to change the special cross-like shape of the room. In 1858, right after the ducal family moved back into the Schwerin castle, the church is being remodeled after the plans of Reutz. The result is a tasteful combination of baroque magnificence and Nordic simplicity. Additionally, an organ built by famous organ builder Friedrich Friese III. had been installed in the church during the same time period. Today, the Schelfkirche with its nice atmosphere, gorgeous windows, decorated chairs and altar paintings has become a hotspot for concerts.
The Schelfkirche opens its door for visitors every day from 11 am to 4 pm. Information to the church’s history, as well as the ducal crypt can be found inside the church. Guided tours as well as tours of the tower are available upon request.
The Schelfkirche is located in the center of the baroque district Schelfstadt right on the Schelfmarkt square surrounded by linden trees. The distance from the Altstadt market square is approximately 500 meters. There are very few parking spots located near the church, therefore we recommend using the "Grüne Straße" public parking lot or the public parking garages close to the castle (900 meters walking distance).
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