Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nykirken in Bergen




















This plaque is placed on Nykirken - the New Church in Bergen. In spite of its name, the oldest parts goes back to the Middle Ages, and it has burnt and been rebuilt several times. Here is a short account of its history.


The plaque says:

THE PRESENT CHURCH IS BUILT ON THE REMAINS OF AN OLD ARCHBISHOP'S RESIDENCE WITH A CHAPEL DEDICATED TO SAINT CLEMENT. FIRST CHURCH BUILT 1618-1622 AS AN ANNEX CHURCH TO THE CATHEDRAL. BURNT 1623 BUT WAS RECONSTRUCTED AS PARISH CHURCH AFTER 1648. EAST WING WITH GATE ADDED 1670. CHURCH BURNT 1756. NEW CHURCH ERECTED 1758-1763 BASED ON DESIGN BY THE ARCHITECT J.J. REICHBORN. THE OLD EAST WING WAS KEPT. BURNT 1800 AND 1944. RECONSTRUCTED AFTER THE FIRE IN 1944 AS IT WAS IN 1800. THE TOWER BUILT 1952-1953 AFTER REICHBORNS DESIGN.

Nykirken is rather new, as the present building is a reconstruction that is around 50 years old. But when you look closer, you will see that there are remains still intact that gives this church authenticity.

Medieval foundations

When you walk around the base of the church you see the rounded arches from an important building from Medieval Bergen.

The residence for the archbishop was located on the Nordnes peninsula during the Middle Ages. It was a larger building than the royal residence. The hall was nearly 60 meters (180 ft) long.

What is left of this massive building is partly found under newer buildings and partly under Nykirken. Whereas the kings quarters were found on the area on the other side of the bay, where the medieval fortress is today.

From the 14th century the building worked as a commercial center securing wealth to the church. When the archbishop title was abolished in 1537, the building fell into 300 year of disrepair. The last parts burnt down in 1756, and the church, as you see it today was built on top of it.

What is still visible are old, rough walls, marked by old age. Remains that became the foundations for the church that was built close to 400 years ago.

The door of 1670

The gate referred to on the plaque from 1670 is clearly visible on the east wing. It is a grey, ornamental frame in limestone with the monogram of King Christian V on top.

He ascended the throne of Denmark-Norway in that year (1670) and reigned the two countries for 29 years.

No comments: