round churches of Bornholm:
The round churches
of Bornholm, 4 in all, are considered to be the island's most outstanding contributions
to Nordic medieval architecture.
The largest and most profusely designed is
Østerlars Church. Olsker Church is a beautifully situated, tall, slender
building; Nylars is perhaps the most well-preserved; while Ny Kirke in Nyker is
the smallest of the four round churches.
They are all estimated to have been
built between 1150 and 1200. But whether they were built by episcopal or royal
authorities to keep treasures or as a storage room during times of trouble is
uncertain. The ground floor of each church is fitted up as a sanctuary, the middle
floor as a refuge or storage room and the top floor, lacking in Ny Kirke, seems
to have been fitted up for defense purposes.
Each church is surrounded by
an enclosed churchyard with a detached belfry of field stones and timber framing.
It is presumed
that construction of Hammershus began around the year 1250 on the orders of the
archbishop of Lund.
During the power struggle between the kings and the church,
the king's stronghold- Lilleborg in Almindingen Forest - was destroyed in 1259
by the archbishop's brother and Count Jaromar of Rügen.
consequently enlarged into a strong fortress which could sustain long sieges.
The enlargement of the castle continued throughout the 1550's since Bornholm had
been mortgaged to the city of Lübeck for 50 years. Bornholm was ruled from Hammershus,
and the fortress served first and foremost as the depository for collected taxes.
The development of artillery weakened the significance of the castle, so that
by 1645 the Swedish general Wrangel was able to conquer it after a few hours of
Thereafter, the castle was used as a garrison and prison. Its
most famous prisoners were traitor Corfitz Ulfeldt and his wife Leonora Christina,
the king's half sister. They were imprisoned in the Mantel Tower for 1½ years
until the year 1661.
In 1743, Hammershus was abandoned and dismantled in the
form of building materials sold from the site by the island's lord lieutenant,
until the castle was scheduled in the year 1822.
Church was built out of Bornholm granite in 1893 to replace the former St. Annae
Chapel dating from around 1300. The remains of the chapel are worth visiting since
some interesting frescoes can be seen.
The chapel's late Gothic triptych was
restored in 1954 and can now be seen in the church.
At the easternmost
point in Denmark and only slightly more than an hour by boat from Bornholm, way
out on the horizon, lie Christianø and Frederiksø.
The cluster of
islands called Ertholmene is a picturesque wildlife area with rugged rock formations
and a prehistoric, warlike appearance.
More than 300 years ago Denmark's king
Christian the Fifth, built a fortress and a naval base. Today with their heavy
granite walls and cannon bastions, their towers and garrisons, the islands form
the framework for a small, lively island community (population 120), with a very
You can reach the islands year round with daily departures
from Svaneke and during the summer season as well from Allinge and Gudhjem. There
are many reasons which make a visit to this cluster of islands worthwhile.
Not many decades
ago, tranquil smoke rose from hundreds of the characteristic smokehouse chimneys
on Bornholm. Back then every little town or village near the coast had several
smokehouses. Some were only for private use while others were run as family smokehouse
You haven't really experienced Bornholm until you have tried the
gastronomic pleasure of "finger eating" a warm smoked herring outdoors.
can still enjoy a smoked Bornholmer smoked "properly" in Allinge, Tejn, Gudhjem,
Svaneke, Årsdale, Nexø, Snogebæk, Østre Sømark, Arnager
history of how clock-making on Bornholm commenced in the year 1744 when a Dutch
ship shipwrecked on the coast by Rønne. Among the salvaged goods was a chest
with 5 english grandfather clocks. Turners from Bornholm fixed the clocks and
in the process learned enough about the clockworks to become skilful clock makers
The oldest "Bornholmer-ure" (grandfather clocks) are around 250
years old, and the proud tradition continues today.
Every detail of the clocks
- from raw material to finished clockworks, dials, pendulums and weights and from
wood to meticulously painted and hand-gilded or veneered, polished clock cabinets
- is pain-stakingly, gently handcraft. Thanks to modern tools, the work can be
given greater strength and precision than the old clock makers had at their command
which guarantees many years of reliable operation.
At Bornholm Museum, one
can learn about the history of the Bornholmer clock. There are baroque clocks
from the 1700's male, maiden and hussif clocks from the 1880's, a clock maker's
workshop and much more in this unique clock section.
are here: Europe Today - Denmark
- Bornholm - Attractions
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