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Naarden (NH): Grote Kerk or St. Vitus

When after 1350 the town of Naarden had to be moved to a safer place, as it was threathened by the rising water of the Zuiderzee, a new church needed to be built. This new church was probably a modest single-aisled building. In the late 15th century this church was enlarged. The acquisition of relics of St. Vitus in 1499 probably were an important impulse for the rebuilt.
The current church is a three-aisled cruciform basilica with a choir with ambulatory. Remarkable is the transept, which is much lower than the nave.
While the side-aisles and ambulatory have stone vaults, the rest of the church is covered by wooden vaults. Although the Reformation took its toll from the interior of this church, the unique paintings on these vaults have survived. Inspired by the work of Albrecht Dürer, scenes from the Old and New Testament have been painted on the vaults. Next to every scene from the Old Testament is a scene from the New Testament with a similar message. The painting probably survived under a thick coat of soot, and the protestants never bothered to destroy them or paint them over.
In 1860 a richly ornamented neo-Gothic portal was added to the back of the ambulatory. It was removed as part of a major restoration which lasted from 1965 until 1978.

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