Basel Munster (Basel - Switzerland)

The place where Basel Munster or Cathedral is located is called the Munster Hill. Excavations in this site shows traces of settlements of 1st C BCE. By 4th C CE, a Roman Fort was built here. By 805-823 CE Carolingian Haito Minster was the church here! Today only its foundation is decipherable. This was destroyed by 917 CE when Hungary invaded. By 1019 CE, the last Ottomon Emperor Henry II constructed it again. In 2019, its all set to celebrate its 1000 years!!! 
By 1220 CE, the church was expanded. The cloister beside the church must have also been built around this time. The north facade called the Galluspforte was also built in 1185 CE. Its one of the sculptural marvel of the entire church. It is the earliest Romanesque figure portal in German region. True to its age, its a rustic design. 

Depicted here is Jesus flanked by Peter and Paul. Also depicted is the parable of 10 holy virgins with Jesus. On the sides are the reliefs of the noble actions of Jesus like attending the sick, feeding the hungry etc. he stained glass windows belong to the late 16th C. The bronze door belongs only to 19th C.
On the southern side is a huge lobby. The arched fir wood ceiling and wooden wall reliefs were made in 1490. This entire space is filled several tombs added during various times! The Cloister windows pretty much reminded me of Westminster Abbey.


In 1356, a major earthquake, destroyed its original tower. So by early 15th C, the present Gothic structure was built incl the twin towers called the Martin Tower & George Tower. In the western main entrance is a high relief of St George as an equestrian on either sides, static in Georgestrum with a sundial above and killing a dragon in Martinstrum. The George Tower is 67.3m tall while the Martin Tower is 65.5m tall.

Going inside, the primary task was to climb the towers! I was informed that for safety purposes no one is allowed to climb solo. There has to be atleast 1 more person. Since I was there on a solo trip, I had no clue what to do. Luckily for me, an Italian family of 4 took the climbing ticket and I asked the person at the counter if I could join them and I did!!! 
The tower goes as a simple spiral climbing for sometime and after than begins the challenging part and I understood why where they hesitant to send anyone alone. The passage was made of wood and the passage went in short sections and not a spiral! At places it was so narrow that a voluptuous person would find it difficult to pass through!! It was out of question for anyone with vertigo or claustrophobia. At several places the passage goes horizontal with closed doors on either sides which should be opened to access the other side. Esp when you're between the 2 closed doors it definitely feels claustrophobic.

Just before reaching the top, a door opens up as balcony. Here, going on either sides, takes you to either George Tower or Martin Tower. I went to check out the Martin Tower. Now there was a small circular platform to have a good view and beyond this is another tiny spiral staircase to reach further higher level and from here the view was extremely spectacular. Though I totally wasted my time going all the way to La Roche Tower, atleast I wasn't disappointed as climbing this, I got to see such a spectacular view of Basel from atop!!!

I don't know which era the colorful tiles atop belong to, but I'm assuming they too should be from the 15th C CE, when the towers were built, unless they were renovated sometime later. I do have a love for the traditional cement tiles of that era. I already told you about it in my post on Westminster Palace. However here they weren't patterned but just solid bright colors, but were arranged in a beautiful pattern!

The interiors of the church was typical Gothic architecture with high arched ceiling and Romanesque sculptures, that's so typical of the 12th C CE. The pulpit belongs to the 15th C CE and the present organ belongs to 2003, however the original organ must have been placed here ever since Gothic era. 

The nave is on an elevated platform, actually its the above of a 2 storied section with the crypt beneath it. The crypt was rather interesting with some ceiling murals which were painted in c.1202 CE. Some more panels were painted c.1400 CE. 
The nave has quite a few sculptures that are rustic and belong to the 12th C. Infact a tiny panel at the entrance to the tower staircase is also from this era. Esp the capitals of the pillars at the nave are such amazing examples of the sculptural marvel from Adam & Eve, to dragons to mythological creatures to warrior saints to gruesome killings etc! I don't recognize the story behind most of it and I couldn't find the details there or on their website as well. If someone can explain, I'm all ears. 

My complete Basel Travelogue: Basel in 24 hrs Part 1, Part 2, Basel Zoo, Basel Munster

To Get There:
Nearest tram/bus stop: Markt Platz
Entry fee: Free; Tower Climbing: CHF 5

P.S: I was invited by Basel Tourism Dept - Basel Card to experience the city for review purposehowever the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

41 comments:

  1. That is one looking cathedral and I love the interiors too. Yeay to another 1000 to come.

    ReplyDelete
  2. the historical buildings are so cool. time to visit there too

    ReplyDelete
  3. Its looks awesome! Its a must to visit this beautiful place.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a cool opportunity! Thank goodness for the Italian family you were able to join. Sometimes I get bummed about the things I can't do as a solo traveler... but then people come along to share the experience!

    ReplyDelete
  5. We spent last summer in Switzerland and although we didn't go to Basel, the few cathedrals that we did visit were very impressive. The one in Lausanne especially with similar Gothic architecture was my favourite. Don't know if we should compare or not but looking at the photos the one at Basel has a lot more to it architecturally and it would be great to visit it some day.

    ReplyDelete
  6. love the colourful atop!! it's places like these that i hope to explore and visit one day!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh this place must be truely Holy for Catholics if Jesus came here. I admire the buildings architecture, and still standing beautiful for many centuries :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. The building design is so historical and amazingly beautiful to look at! The prints and details of each building is so pretty!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What an amazing journey you seemed to have had! It is a real test of vertigo and claustrophobia!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love going to places where it becomes an instant history lesson. This is the case with this one. I would love to see those gorgeous ancient architecture someday! I'm sure it would be as awe-inspiring as your photos depict.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Woah! That sounds like quite a staircase to climb! Glad you were able to climb despite being solo. This looks like such a beautiful Cathedral; love all the details!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love the photos! I've only been briefly to Switzerland this just reminded that is so much more to see! Love the architecture!

    ReplyDelete
  13. What amazing photos and incredible history to match! I love Switzerland and would definitely love to go back to explore more of the magical place. Glad you were able to enjoy and conquer that staircase! Those staircases in the cathedrals are so tough! but they leave for a great memory and great workout lol

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love the stained glass windows and the colourful tiles. Which is the best time of the day to visit? Also, how much time should I budget for the church?

    ReplyDelete
  15. There so much religious significance in Basel Munster. You get to appreciate the architecture but also get to learn a portion of history.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Switzerland has a beautiful history of architecture and nature. This post takes me back to my time spent there. The church is majestic and truly spoke to me. As a woman with strong faith, I would be apt to dig deeper into the history and perhaps attend a service. A beautiful photographic essay on such a gorgeous building.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is such a beautiful and historical place. It's sad that the earthquake destroyed those towers. I wish to visit here when I go on a trip to Switzerland

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love their architecture. The art is so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  19. OMG! Basel is so beautiful & classy, I wish to go there someday.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh my all these historical buildings are amazing. Would certainly love to make a visit there sometime soon - the architecture and designs there are stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  21. such an amazing place to visit... i hope i find myself there one fine day

    ReplyDelete
  22. Haven't been to this country yet, will bookmark this post for my travel reference :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. This place is gorgeous! Would love to visit switzerland one day.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Yet another breathtaking cathedral you've visited! The details are so so amazing!:D

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh I love Switzerland! So great to see this post. We never made it to Basel, but hoping to one day.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Such beautiful shots where it really making me feel want to have a travel at least once in my lifetime. Really need to plan about this trip <3<3<3

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you so much for the tour of this beautiful Cathedral. It made me feel like I was actually there. Such great detail!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I like how you provide loads of information and story and pictures of the place you visit. But have you thought of doing short video clips as well? Just a thought when I am browsing through your travelogue~

    ReplyDelete
  29. Lovely architecture. I love cathedrals and vintage buildings. Lovely photos as well!

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is so pretty! I have always been fascinated by the architecture

    ReplyDelete
  31. you've covered every nook and corner of that so beautifully...loved the architecture

    ReplyDelete
  32. Basel isn't somewhere I had ever though of visiting. The images you took of the church are great. So much detail. I'll make sure to visit next time I'm in Europe.

    ReplyDelete
  33. What a beautiful place. How I wish I can travel there someday.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Switzerland is my dream destination and I also intend to explore the place. But your post is rather a revelation of another beauty of the place. While most of us relate to only snow and the white and grey picture, this is a quite a different aspect. Amazing post :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Basel Munster is stunning! I love the pictures of the view! I agree completely that it looks like Westminster and I'm glad they were able to rebuild after the earthquake.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Chef 5 and you get to see all this!talk about value for money, thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  37. I love going to churches whenever I travel. I'd surely keep the Basel Munster in mind if I get the chance to visit Switzerland.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love those colorful tiles! They're so beautiful! Cathedrals like this are just so gorgeous. Nothing like this can be found here in the US.

    ReplyDelete
  39. This Cathedral is so interesting & intricate, inside & out. Switzerland is on the list, I didn't know much about Basel before so thanks for highlighting it, I'll make sure to schedule a visit when I finally make it there, hopefully in the summer this year!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting...!
Why not leave a comment.?
And tell your friends..!!!

cookieassistant.com