Nikolaikirche
The Church of St. Nicholas ( Germ. Nikolaikirche) is the oldest church in Berlin, the capital of Germany. The church is located in the eastern part of central Berlin, the borough of Mitte. The area around the church, bounded by Spandauer Straße, Rathausstraße, the River Spree and Mühlendamm, is known as the Nikolaiviertel 'Nicholas quarter', and is an area of restored mediaeval buildings (in some cases recent imitations). The church was built between 1220 and 1230, and is thus, along with the Church of Our Lady at Alexanderplatz not far away, the oldest church in Berlin.

History
Originally a Roman Catholic church, the Church of St. Nicholas became a Lutheran church after the Protestant Reformation in the Electorate of Brandenburg in 1539. In the 17th century, the prominent hymn-writer Paul Gerhardt was the minister of this church, and the composer Johann Crueger was musical director. The prominent Lutheran theologian Provost Philipp Jacob Spener was the minister of Church of St. Nicholas from 1691 to 1705. From 1913 to 1923 the minister at the Church of St. Nicholas was Wilhelm Wessel, whose son Horst Wessel was later a prominent Nazi: the family lived in the nearby Jüdenstraße. On Reformation Day in 1938 (October 31) the church building served a last time its congregation. Thereafter the building, being the oldest structure in Berlin proper, was profaned as a museum (part of then Märkisches Museum), since the number of parishioners had shrunk due to the ever intensifying commercialisation of the inner city with residential premises being superseded by offices and shops. The congregation is since merged with that of Church of Our Lady. The Church of St. Nicholas as seen today is largely a reconstruction, since the original church was reduced to a burnt-out shell by Allied bombing of Berlin during World War II. Three plaques recall the church's history and destruction. After the war the ruins were in East Berlin, and it was not until 1981 that the East German Democratic Republic authorities authorised the rebuilding of the church, using old designs and plans. In 1989 the church served as the home of the Friedliche Revolution, the peaceful protests which soon swelled and expanded to other parts of East Germany, signaling the end for the East German government. Today the church serves again mainly as a museum and occasionally as a concert venue. It is renowned for its acoustics and the rebuilt church has been equipped with a fine set of 41 bells.

Building Activity

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