Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas’ Church) sits in charming section of Berlin called Nikolaiviertel (St. Nicholas Quarter) located along the banks of the Spree River. This small medieval looking area is a lovely place to stroll, relax with a beer or shop. But don’t be fooled. With the exception of one or two restored buildings, the Nikolaiviertel consists of replicas of historic buildings. Most of the medieval quarter was destroyed during WWII, so redevelopment was carried out by the East German government from 1979-1987.
Knowing that this oldest part of Berlin was virtually demolished, it is even more amazing to me that while bombed into ruin, enough of the medieval Nikolaikirche survived to eventually be restored in 1987 for us to visit today.
The present triple nave structure was built with a cross vault in 1380. Construction on the nave continued until the mid-15th century creating a magnificent Gothic red-brick hall-church (similar to Marienkirche) with a row of side chapels.
The Marienkapelle to the right of the tower was added in 1452. In 1876 a second tower, with two spires, was added by Hermann Blankenstein. The tower spires you see today were restored to this design. During this period, Blankenstein also unfortunately removed most of the church’s Baroque decorative elements.
The permanent exhibition “From the Foundations to the Twin Spires” adds to your visit experience. Art works, funerary art, liturgical items and interactive displays tell visitors about the history of this medieval church building and the early history of the city. You can also walk up to the organ loft to get an up-close of the organ and a fabulous view of the nave.
Click here to find out more about how to visit Nikolaikirche!