Essential Architecture-  Island Rügen

Vilmnitz Church




Rügen, in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, north-eastern Germany.


mid-13th century


Hanseatic Brick Gothic




opening hours:
no regular opening hours

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the building:
Imposing brick church with fieldstone base, partly with very large hewn boulders. Built in the mid-13th century with double square choir and rib-vaulting. The exterior is ornamented with Romanesque blank arches. The eaves of the choir are higher than the nave eaves. There is a priests’ door in the south wall elaborately framed with glazed and unglazed bricks (now walled up flush inside). Shortly afterwards, the sacristy to the north was built. Choir above a princely burial vault with a staircase covered by a trapdoor. Burial vault with cross vaulting and small window to the east. Square-hewn fieldstones in the base of the wall point to the early date of building for the choir and the sacristy. Originally there was a narrower nave, completed at about the mid-14th century at the latest. In the 15th century it was demolished and replaced by the present structure. The nave has four wide, rectangular bays with rib-vaulting. Gigantic Gothic pointed arch windows. All gables are structured by blind ogee arches. The square, three-storey tower to the west was completed in the late 15th century (covering west blind gable of the nave). The bell dates from 1554. The choir was converted in 1600 into a memorial church by the Putbus family. The simple, Baroque southern narthex was added in the second half of the 18th century to provide access to the patron’s box. An oriel-like extension to the sacristy was added in the 18th century. The church was thoroughly restored in 1906/07. All windows are ogival. The interior is whitewashed. The floor is a few steps higher in the choir, paved with brick tiles (two stamped “1709” and “1762”).
Oldest item: tomb slab dating from 1533 (originally served to cover the Putbus burial vault, but is now set up in a broken state behind the altar; masonry altar block; three crosses in the limestone table slab (otherwise all furnishings are post-Reformation) Worth noting: burial vault with 27 sometimes splendidly ornamented Putbus family coffins from the period 1637-1856. Four large sandstone memorial tablets of the Putbus family in the choir (facing each other in pairs: father, mother, son, and daughter-in-law) created in 1599-1601 by Klaus Midow (masterpieces of the late Renaissance), originally painted. Other furnishings: Renaissance retable of sandstone from 1603, (presumably also by Midow), pulpit from 1708/09 by Hans Broder from Stralsund. A Moses statue supports the pulpit with the four gospels. To the east is the 1722 confessional, also by Hans Broder. Pews, font stand, and west gallery with the 19th century organ by F.A.Mehmel from Stralsund.
Churchyard worth visiting, fieldstone filling wall, 84 gravestones from the 19th century, 12 cast-iron crosses. Picturesque ensemble, church on the hill, churchyard, schoolhouse, and vicarage. Fine view across the countryside. Unusually large village church, since it was the court and burial church of the Princes zu Putbus. Burial vault with elaborate coffins.


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