The Cathedral of St. Mary is the only medieval church in Visby that survived the attack of the forces of Lübeck in 1525, the many other ruined churches in the City fell foul of the destruction meted out that effectively ended Visby’s importance as a Baltic port.
Ironically, it was Germans who built the Church around 1225. It remained as the German church for the town until 1350 when it was enlarged and turned into the Cathedral for Visby. A two-storey magazine was added at the time above the nave to act as a warehouse for the German merchants who had original founded the church. Much of the original interior was stripped out at the time of the Lutheran Reformation.
Possibly because of its Germanic origins, the Cathedral survived the destruction that spilled out across Visby when the Lübeckers arrived in 1525 and laid waste to the City. Today Visby is famous for its City Walls and for the number of ruined churches that dot the City – a reminder of 1525 still!
In 1744 the west tower of the Cathedral burnt down and was replaced and the new spire added, in 1761 matching spires were added to the eastern towers. Early in the 20th Century the Cathedral was heavily renovated and some of the changes are slightly cumbersome, but it is otherwise one of the most impressive single buildings in Visby.
Photo - Andrew J. Müller
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