Famous cathedral in Bern is a collegiate.
The construction of those monument of culture an spirituality begun in 1421and finally completed only in 1893 with the erection of the tower. The tower is highest in the country (100m).
The tympanum of the main door, made by E. Küng, is a remarkable illustration of the Last Judgement.
After climbing 270 steps inside, you can reach the tower where you can enjoy a magnificent panorama over the city. Free admittance
We appreciated the stained glass windows throughout the Munster. Very colourful and all had a theme.
No restrictions on photography, but keep in mind not to disturb proceedings. We often used non flash.
During our short day visit to Bern this Cathedral was the building where we spent the most time. This is a beautiful old cathedral, the age is a standout point of our short visit.
It is possible, for a small fee, to go up to the top of the Munster, 322 steps will give you a magnificent view over Bern. Some people took on this challenge, but we declined.
So much to see, everything is very special even the old seats were personalised and took our attention. We could have easily stayed for half a day but had to move on.
Dont miss the angles in the Berner Münster ! you will find them next to the main altar and as an ornate decoration of the seats for the honorities in the front part of the cathedral.
Unfortunately it is quite dark in this part of the cathedral and photography with a flash or tripod is forbidden, but sometimes it helps to place your camera on one of the benches and press the button very slow and gentle. A strong lense like my 1:2,0 lense will work as well.
The interior of the Berner Münster is worth seeing as well. While most churches in Switzerland are not really very fancy inside, this is a gothic, catholic church and it has a stunning interior, that would deserve at least about 30 minutes to take a look around.
Dont miss the seats next to the altar, that are made with the most beautiful woodcarvings, that you might see in Switzerland, take a look at my next tip about more details !
Step up the tower of the Münster, even though there are just steps and no elevator. The view of the alps is even better from up there than from Bundesterrasse and in addition you also see the old town of Bern from above.
There is not a lot of space up there, as you can see in my 4th photo, but at least the way up and the way down are not the same like it sometimes is done in other old cathedrals.
I made also a travelogue with some more photos from up there !
Münster - Haupttor / the main entrance of the Münster is one of the most beautiful gothic gates, that I ever saw. The arches above the giant doors are decorated with colorfull sculptures, showing heaven and hell: In my 1st photo you can see the hell on the right, naked people there in the hell and when you look close enough, you also see bishops there and other noble people. On the left is the heaven, all dressed in white dresses...
Bern Cathedral is Switzerland's largest ecclesiastical building. Construction works began in 1421 and were only finished in 1893.
The depiction of the Last Judgement, in the Portal of the cathedral is a must see. Truly amazing work. Some of the vitrals are also breathtaking.
The views from the church tower are also very impressive, going all the way to the Bernaise Alps.
I've seen the Munster described as the "Gothic Rocket" and even though we couldn't get the full effect of the tower since there was construction going on at the top, other pictures I've seen clearly show a rocket type look.
Just a few other comments about the Munster. The original builder was Matthaus Ensinger who previously had designed 3 other Cathedrals. He envisioned a grand Cathedral for Bern even though the population in 1421 was only around 5000. Although not as awe inspiring as the other houses of worship we saw in London and Paris, it still gives one pause. When you look at the modern churches constructed today you can only marvel at the intricacies of those centuries old churches.
The Berner Munster (collegiate church) was originally build around 1421 as a Berner Dom (Catholic cathedral) and technically not finished in its current state until 1893 when the bell tower was added.
Although many of the statues and images inside the church were destroyed during the Protestant reformation the Saved and Damned carved wood and stone statues of the Last Judgement over the entrance were not probably due to the fact that the Protestants saw this as a very poignant representation of Heaven and Hell. The 170 small carvings are still the 15th century originals while the larger 47 statues are replicas with the originals in a local Bern museum.
We did not get a chance to climb the bell tower when we were there as it was nearing the end of the day and we had already climbed St Paul in London the week before, but the views of the highest tower in Switzerland are great according to other viewers.
Initially we were disappointed with the way the picture on this tip turned out, but the more we looked and saw that most of the damned were in the late afternoon shade while the saved were in the sun actually added to the story of the The Last Judgement.
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