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Berlin's 'historic gem' shines with new light

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Berlin's 'historic gem' shines with new light
Photo: Penny Bradfield
11:50 CET+01:00
Berlin's oldest church, the 800-year-old Nikolaikirche, reopened to great fanfare this week after two years' reconstruction work returned it to its former glory.

A centrepiece of the capital's Mitte district, the church was praised by Mayor Klaus Wowereit as a “gem of Berlin's history.”

“The Nikolaikirche stands as almost no other place does for a complete history of Berlin, which reaches back to the Middle Ages. It stands for the self-awareness of Berlin citizens, for their entitlement to liberty and for their political will.”


Built between 1220 and 1230, soon after the city was established, the Nikolaikirche was originally a Roman Catholic church, but became Lutheran after the Protestant Reformation in Brandenburg in 1539.

Bombed heavily during World War II, the church stood as a virtual ruin until the communist regime of the German Democratic Republic finally rebuilt it in the 1980s.

The church includes a great Baroque altarpiece designed by Samuel Theodor Gericke with wood figures carved by Christoph Döbel (1640-1713).

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