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Photographer's Note

To start this new travelogue, some views taken in Bergen before the deaprture of the ship. I remeber Bergen as a very rainy city, but snapped a few shots between the rain falls. Here is what I believe to be the Mariakirken (St Mary's Church), discribed as the oldest church and oldest building in Bergen.
I have found an interesting page with a bit of history:

Mariakirken has two towers, with a Romanesque style and High Gothic characteristics in the stalls. The church received the country’s first stained-glass window in 1336, when a German glass painting was willed to the church, and put into the northern wall.

With its three naves and two towers, the church resembles a small cathedral. This leads us to think that it is likely to have been Bergen’s main church very early. However, we do not know this for certain. What we do know, is that it used to be the parish church of an economically strong group of people – the Hanseatics. The merchants on Bryggen got the church in 1408, after which it was popularly called “the German church.”

The German society kept Mariakirken as their own a long time after the Hanseatic dominance in Bergen had been broken. However, the Norwegian Parliament passed a bill in 1839, which annulled the German congregation in Bergen. After this it was no longer an obligation for German descendants to belong to the congregation, only a hereditary and voluntary right. From now on, Mariakirken turned more and more into a local parish church, even though sermons were held in German until after the First World War.

Late in the 19th century, author Elisabeth Welhaven described the German society within the church. The Hanseatic descendants were strongly tied to each other. The congregation at Mariakirken was like “a family who participated in each other’s well-being with great seriousness, much like Freemasons. Anyone who has entered into their House of Worship has felt the holy and grave atmosphere that rests upon the old German Temple.”

And the link to the page: http://www.histos.no/bergen/vis.php?kat=5&id=28

PS Elements 5.0 (original scanned, with automatic adjustments, increased sharpness and of course Neatimage to package that...)

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Additional Photos by Emmanuel LE CLERCQ (emjleclercq) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2013 W: 62 N: 3116] (15778)
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