In some ways I enjoyed visiting the Fraumunster's cloisters and courtyard more than visiting the church itself. Why? Well, partly because I shared my main visit to the church with a large tour group but mainly because the cloisters retain their antiquity. They have not been changed and restored in the same way as the church itself (which seems to have had its Medieval heart stripped away). So you can still see Romanesque column capitals, with their strange beats and intricate foliage.
The cloister walls are covered with soft-coloured frescoes of Zurich's saints and legends. They were created in the 1920s by Paul Bodmer, a Swiss artist. Although very modern (in comparison) they do blend well with the Early Medieval architecture of the cloisters.
It is well worth walking through the cloisters to look at the architecture and frescoes. They are accessed to the left of the church entrance.
.....are absolutely lovely, but they do mean that you can expect the church to be visited by tour groups.
The church got its name (which means 'women's Minster' not 'Our Lady's' Minster because it was built on the site of a convent and abbey first established in the 800s. Originally the abbey church was a simple basilica, supposedly with a crypt to house the remains of Zurich's patron saints Felix and Regula (although the Grossemunster also claims to be their burial site). This first church was consecrated in 874 and, of course, nothing of it can be seen today.
The existing building was built in the 1200s, although it has undergone much renovation and change over the intervening centuries. If you look to the right of the entrance you will see a little of that first ancient structure is still visible.
The Chagall windows, in the Romanesque choir which dates from the 1200s, were installed in the late 1960s. There are five of them, depicting various elements of both the Old and the New Testament. Chagall also created the rose window which can be seen in the southern transept. They are indeed very lovely, as is the easily-missed 1940s stained-glass window by Augustus Giacometti in the northern transept. Make sure you look up to see it as you leave the church.
I enjoyed the windows but was also intrigued by the various fresco fragments in the choir, including a couple of what looked very much like devils.
No photography is allowed in the Fraumunster, which is a pity. I didn't want to photograph the Chagall windows but I'd have liked to photograph those fresco fragments.
When I visited Zurich the Fraumunster was not open for non-worshipping visitors until 10am.
The Fraumünster abbey (or in English: Lady Minster) is one of oldest church in Zurich. It was founded on 21 July 853 by King Louis the German for his daughter Hildegard. Ownership of the church and convent passed to the city of Zürich after the Reformation. Today is Evangelical Protestant Church in the heart of old town. Today this church have a large congregation sermon. Also, it is well know after his symphonic organ and a church choir. The church choir have more than 100 singers. Building itself is Romanesque-Gothic church and it has nice stained glass windows which authors wasMarc Chagall and Augusto Giacometti attract.
It has two visiting hours. During summer church is open from 9am till 6pm and during winter from 10am till 4pm. It is free for entrance.
There are several churches in Zürich; the two that were most important for me to see were the Grossmünster and the Fraumünster. The Fraumünster (“Our Lady”) began as a Benedictine abbey in 853, founded by Louis the German for his daughter Hildegard. Two centuries later they convent was given the basic right of a city and was allowed to hold markets, mint coins, and charge tolls. This made the abbess of the convent a very influential person. However, the abbey was dissolved in the 1500s during the Protestant Reformation (Zwingli was very active in Zürich, preaching from the pulpit in the Grossmünster right across the river) and its monastic building destroyed. However, the church still stands and is one of Zürich’s most visited churches.
The church is a mix of Romanesque and Gothic. As with many of the older churches in the area, it was begun in the medieval times and was later renovated in line with the current styles of the day. This is clearly seen in the Fraumünster especially with the addition of the modern Chagall windows.
The reason for so many visits is to see the stained glass windows by Marc Chagall that are the centerpiece of the church’s choir. There are five windows in the choir by Chagall, all long slender creations that have a distinctive color scheme and theme.
Green: In the very center are the green windows, illustrating the life of Christ.
Blue: To the immediate left of green windows are the vivid blue windows, which depict parts of the life of Jacob, including his dream of climbing the ladder to Heaven.
Orange/Red: To the far left is the red/orange window that shows scenes from the prophets, including Elijah going to Heaven in a chariot.
Yellow: To the immediate right of the green windows are the yellow panels, which show parts of the life of King David. At the bottom you can see him playing his harp while his mistress Bathsheba looks on from the background.
Blue: This second blue window to the far right illustrates the Law as Moses looks down from the very top of the window. By the way, those are not horns on the head of Moses, but are supposed to be beams of light. Due to a translation issue, oftentimes the beams are translated horns, so Moses is occasionally depicted with what appear to be horns. A famous example of this is Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses in Rome.
Aside from the Chagall windows, there is also a very fine rose window in the northern transept by Augsto Giacometti. All of these windows (Chagall and Giacometti) were created in the mid- to late- 1900s, so they are very modern for the age of the building.
For Chagall fans, the church of St. Stephen in Mainz, Germany, has a beautiful collection of blue stained glass windows and well worth a stop if you are in that area.
The Fraumünster is open daily from 1000 – 1800 (April-October) and 1000-1600 (November-March), except on Sundays from 1000-1100 when services are held.
The Fraumunster is one of Zurich's most important attractions primarily for one reason, Marc Chagall's famed stained glass window. These five long windows are each painted in different coloured themes. Each tells the story of the old testament. Personally I am a huge admirer of Chagall's artwork, therefore I had to see what is considered to be some of his strongest works. I sat here for a long while just taking in each window. I found them mesmerizing. The stained glass windows were created by Chagall in 1970. They are best seen in the morning when the sun is in the east, the direction which they face. Sadly I visited in the afternoon. Also unfortunate but understandable is that photos of the stained glass windows cannot be taken.
The church itself dates back to 853 when a Benedictine Abbey was built here by King Ludwig. The present building actually was built around 1300. Other than Chagall's window, the other notable attraction is the organ. Otherwise the basilica is rather plain inside. The exterior has a soaring steeple with a large clock face. The Fraumunster is open daily.
Fraumünster is a church on Old town of Zürich, that towers on western bank of river Limmat. Today temple comes from 13 century. In beginning church belonged to Benedictine convent and there was also monastery. In 1524 Fraumünster was reformed. Till nowadays the church is Protestant. Monastery buildings were destroyed in 1898 to create room for Stadthaus.
Stained glasses in the Fraumünster church were designed by Marc Chagall.
In the ninth century, Louis the German founded the Fraumuenster abbey on behalf of Hildegard who was his daughter. He assigned the area to the Benedictine nuns who only had to answer to him.
Over the centuries the nuns were given more and more power. They could hold markets, mint coins and collect tolls (these rights granted to them in 1045 by Henry III. Thus the abbess literally ran the city.
Of course when Huldrych Zwingli came along in the 1520's and instigated his famous Reformation, the Fraumuenster became another of the Catholic Church's casualties. In 1898 the monastery was destroyed to make room for the new Stadthaus.
Today the Fraumuenster is one of 34 reformed churches in the area and is easily distinguished by its tall green spire and clocktower.
Claimed to be Zurich's oldest church, the Fraumunster Abbey and extensive lands were founded in 853 by Louis the German for his daughter Hildegard and placed under his direct authority.
The abbess of Fraumunster became even more powerful in 1045 when the Abbey was given rights that effectively gave it control of the city. But this power slowly reduced in the 14th century and the Abbey completely dissolved in 1524 under reformist Zwingli.
In a state of disrepair, the monastery buildings were razed in 1898 to make way for a new Stadthaus, with the church itself becoming a 'simple' parish church.
The interior, following the reform of Zwingli, is extremely austere although there are 5 large stained glass windows in the choir designed by Marc Chagall and installed in 1970.
As a place of worship, no photographs are allowed inside the church (we were a little naughty and took one of the Chagall windows).
Located on the left bank of old Zürich facing Grossmünster, Fraumünster is famous for its stunning 20th century stained glass windows by Marc Chagall. The church, however, has a much longer history. Originally, a smaller church was built on the site in the 9th century AD as part of a Benedictine convent, but it was replaced by the current Gothic structure in 1250 AD with its slender bell tower. In the 16th century, during the Reformation, the church was converted to Protestantism and in the process lost all of the ornamentation within (the Reformation movement strictly preferred more austere churches without icons and images!). A 20th century renovation saw the addition of the colourful Chagall windows. Unfortunately, photography inside is prohibited.
The Fraumuenster Church with its adjoining abbey was founded in 853 and rebuilt in 1250. The church consists of a Romanesque choir and a Gothic nave.
The main attraction of the church is probably a set of 5 stained glass windows, which were designed by Marc Chagall. The approximately 10 m high windows can be found in the choir. Unfortunately, taking photos is prohibited here.
A former cloister can be found outside on the southern side of the church. It dates back to 1900 and shows frescos by Paul Bodmer of local legends.
The Fraumuenster Church stands at the left bank of the river Limmat and overlooks the lovely Muensterhof Square.
Address:: Fraumuenster Church, Am Münsterhofplatz, 8001 Zurich
The Fraumünster has a long and rich story. And it's a beautiful church indeed.
But nothing can prepare us for the vision of the stained glass windows by Marc Chagall. I think they are so amazing that words can't describe it.
It's not possible to take photos of them, and I totally agree. Not only to protect the art work but also to not disturb the viewer.
It's really a must see!
Fraumünster (our lady’s minster) first church built before 874; the Romanesque choir dates from 1250-70; Marc Chagall stained glass choir windows; (on the opposite side of the Limmat).
A slender blue spire points skyward from the current church, which was a gift from Ludwig the German. It is famous for its stained glass windows by Marc Chagall
The wonderful church is placed on the left shore of the Limmat River, at the other end of the Münster Bridge, opposite to the Grossmünster.
The Fraumünster Church was built in the year 853, under the order of Ludwig dem Deutschen.
The initial destination of the church was a house for the daughter of the founder, and after then, it was a church for the aristocrat ladies of Zürich.
The church was built in Romanesque style, and during the years, the church was repeatedly reconstructed and it got architectural elements from Gothic style.
The tall South Tower was reconstructed and heightened in the 18th century, and the last rebuilding of the church took place in 1911.
The windows of the northern transept are the creation of the artist Augusto Giacometti, and they were created in the time period 1930-1945.
A great attraction for the art connoisseurs are the five painted windows, made in 1970 by the artist Marc Chagall, and the beautiful rosette, made 1978 by the same artist.
Right across the river from the Grossmünster church you find the Fraumünster church, the other landmark of Zürich's old town. It was the church of a small convent, turned over to his daughter by King Ludwig dem Deutschen in 853. Besides providing an appropriate room for presenting the relics of the martyrs Felix and Regula to attract pilgrims the King also wanted to secure his power over the region.
The oldest parts of the church as you see it in our days are from the 12th century, mostly it is architecture from the 13th and 14th centuries - Gothic style.
The church draws visitors from all over the world because of the stained glass windows in the choir by Marc Chagall, created from 1967 on. He created another window in the southern wall in 1978 at the age of 90. These windows are certainly amazing works of art, but it takes a while to understand what the artist meant to express. Take your time, sit down in the choir and watch closely. I guess it must be wonderful to see the brilliant colours in the morning sunlight - unfortunately I had no such luck.
Well worth a look is also the stained glass window high on the northern wall by Augusto Giacometti.
The most interesting part of the church, however, are IMO the partially reconstructed cloisters. You find them at the southern side outside the church. One part is Romanesque style, the other is Gothic style. Very interesting are the frescos depicting the legends of the founding of the church, of the life of the city's patrons (the Saints Felix, Regula and Exuperantius).
While everyone enters Fraumünster to see Chagall's stained glass windows, most visitors miss the cloister at the backside of the church.
Its architecture is not as old as it seems. The medieval cloister of the former Fraumünster monastery was demolished in 1898 to make room for the construction of the adjacent Stadthaus for the city administration. Parts of the original cloister were recycled in the much smaller new cloister which was built by Gustav Gull in 1900.
Paul Bodmer then painted the frescoes on the cloister walls in 1922 - 1941. The frescoes depict scenes from holy legends that are connected with Zürich: the life and martyrdom of the city patrons, St Felix and Regula, and legends about Charlemagne's daughters.