The Baseler Münster (cathedral) is the main church of the area, built from red sandstone between 1019 and 1500 in romanic and gothic architectural style. The front of the Münster is decorated with staues of St. Georg and St. Martin; inside, many beautiful stained-glass windows, a magnificent altarpiece and medieval sculptures can be found. One tower of the Münster is accessible for visitors after a steep climb. From above, one has a great panoramic view on Basel .
The Minster was once a Catholic cathedral, but now a protestant church. This fact tells us something about its central role in the Reformation. It was here that the last antipope, Felix V, was elected in opposition to the pope in Rome. Less than a century later the fires of Protestant Reformation swept Basel, and the cathedral was attacked and its precious art destroyed. The church survived, albeit converted, and today its fine red sandstone architecture makes the church a standout sight high above the banks of the river Rhine.
Tip: the Minster's location above the Rhine gives it some of the best views in the city. Head to the small square just behind the church.
The beutiful Gothic Minster was built between 1019 and 1500, giving it a bandwith of Gothic styles throught its construction period. Though a romanesque structure was used in the first decades of construction, an earthquake in 1356 and a larger makeover in 1421 left little of the original Romanesque style intact. Examples are the bottom part of the northern tower (St. George's tower) as well as the Gallus Gate on the northern transept from 1190. The Gallus Gate is by the way the oldest decorated gate of its kind The southern tower (St. Martin's tower) was a later addition finished in the 15th century. In the 20th century, efforts were made to reemphasize the late Romanesque style and reverse those changes made during the neogothic wave of the 1800s. Only the crypt has been largely preserved in the original older style as the Münster was built on the same spot of an older predecessor church. Charactersitically for come larger church buildings in Central Europe and the Alps region, it has a patterned roof. So as the town hall, Basel Minster is built out of red sandstone.
Inside the church, you will a majestic, but still protestantly sober atmosphere. The source of that lies in the inconoclasm of the reformation period, which luckily spared the statues of St. Martin and St. George in the respective towers. With the reformation, the church lost its cathedral status, though the designation is still used sometime. One of my favourite historical figures, Erasmus of Rotterdam, is interred in the church as well as Mathematician Jacob Bernoulli.
Access to both of the towers is possible (4 CHF as of late 2010), though in the winter the towers are only opened to group visits. I had the lucky chance that a group visit was taking place when I arrived and the lady at the counter considered me responsible enough to take care of myself and not to make any trouble. Elevators were not available.
Unfortunately their page is only available in German....
With its' red sandstone walls, multicoloured roof tiles, and twin towers this Cathedral sitting high above the Rhine river, is well worth a visit.
Whilst we were there, there was some construction work being carried out, so could not take very many photographs of this magnificent structure.
The cathedral was built in the 13th century of red sandstone. The roof is patterned (tiles?) and adds to its plain looks.
No elevators here! But it wasn't that hard of a climb and once on the top, the view of the city is excellent. You can access the very top by going outside (at the bell level) and around to the water side. Enter the small door that leads to the stairs. When you reached the top level, you can go even higher by doing the same thing, going around to the other side and getting into another small door.
It costs €3 to go up.
The Muenster is Basels Biggest Church.
Towering on Munster Hill over the City, this definetly is the most known Building of the City.
Red Sandstone, two towers (one seems always to be under construction).
It is worth to take a guide and let yourself explain all the things you can see here.
Just some of it:
One one side of the main gate, you see the holy Martin, sharing his clothes. On the other side Georg the Dragon slayer (quite cute dragon, actually).
The gate on the left side of the building has the wheel of fortune over it.
Inside there is somewhere a Jew Star on the ground, there is also an inlay that shows another Basilisk.
Under the Munster (in the so called viererkapelle) are old fondations that go back to roman times, they contain sarcrophages,
the roof with the colorful tiles is supported by a construction of steel - like the Eiffel tower
The towers can be climbed, but I think you have to be announced to do that.
The stairs are small and steep, its a real experience, and they go up very high.
Unfortunately in the last years and in the years to follow there are repairs ongoing on the tower - the sand stone suffers from the acid rain and has to be checked, cleaned and repaired.
In october of 2006 there were 2 weeks where they took the repair construction down- just to put it up on the other tower. But I m anaged to make a picture!
Munster Cathedral, made of red sandstone with patterned mosaic roof was built in the 13th century but had to be re-built following an earthquake in 1356.
The Tower of St George, on the left of the main frontage has a thirteenth-century statue of the saint impaling a dragon.
In the crypt there are ninth-century remains of an earlier cathedral along with some late-Romanesque frescoes.
One of the highlights is a wander through the cloisters adjoining the cathedral to the south.
To both sides of the choir stairs lead down to the crypt. It had to be rebuilt after the earthquake 1356, but some pillars and the walls are still Romanesque.
Please take notice of the very beautiful Romanesque sculptured reliefs on the walls. Absolutely outstanding are, however, the frescos on the vaulted ceilings of the crypt (2nd half 14th century). Excellent quality and perfectly preserved. Yet older are the remains of the frescos of two Bishops of Basel at the outer walls of the crypt - Lütold of Aarburg (Bishop 1191 - 1213) and Adalbero II. (died 1025).
Not only convents, also Bishop's churches (cathedrals) have cloisters!
The Münster of Basel actually has two cloisters. The small one was built 1467 - 1490. The bigger one was built 1429 - 1470, in the Eastern wing it still has four cross-beams in late Romanesque style (12th century) which survived the earthquake of 1356. The Gothic vaults are magnificent, the one in the Western wing in particular. The walls are decorated with plenty of beautiful epitaphs, among them some from famous citizens, like the reformator Oekolampad, Bernoulli etc.
The small and big cloisters are connected by a hall.
Two chapels border to the cloisters: Nicolas- (not accessible) and Magdalena Chapel, the first built 1270 - 1370 and the latter (again with lots of epitaphs) constructed in the 12th century.
The Western facade - with two very beautiful towers - is decorated with a number of excellent sculptures. The main portal dates from 1260/70. Some of the figures were unfortunately destroyed during the reformation. The portal is, however, still impressive. Definitely have a look at the four big figures: To the left Emperor Henry II. and his wife Kunigunde, to the right the Duke of the World (the tempter) and the dumb virgin. The tempter smiles at you - but at his back he has awful snakes and other dangerous animals and comes out as the devil himself. The dumb virgin gives in to his charm.
To the left of the portal you see St. George, fighting the dragon; and to the right St. Martin, sharing his coat. Both saints gave the towers their names.
The cathedral is the most important late Romanesque building in the Upper Rhine region (stretching from Strasbourg to Basel). It has the earliest portal with figures in the German speaking countries and houses outstanding Romanesque and Gothic works of art, especially sculptures.
The cathedral dominates Basel's impressive silhouette seen from across the Rhine river. Its towers are landmarks of the old town.
The cathedral as seen today was built over more than 500 years. The first church (donation by King Heinrich II.) was dedicated 1019. A fire destroyed large parts of that church in 1185, and it was rebuilt soon afterwards. The devastating earthquake 1356 hit the cathedral hardly. Large parts of the vaults, the choir and the towers had to be rebuilt. The construction was completed 23 July 1500.
Since this amazing cathedral houses so many outstanding works of art it is impossible to list these in only one tip - please let me take you on a tour of the cathedral in the following tips!
The Muenster cathedral towers over the city. It is an interesting church, both inside and out (the two distinctive towers are made of red sandstone).
The church was rebuilt in the 1300's following an earthquake. I hear you can arrange to climb the tower. We didn't have time to do that.