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by Wildcat Dianne
November 8, 2011
Churches and cathedrals in Europe are a major part of the history of the Continent and shouldn't be missed when you visit the cities of Europe. You might think "same old, same old" with the churches of Europe, but there are Catholic churches and Protestant Churches and they all have different stories and histories to tell you and the Basel Munster is one of them.
The Basel Munster was built in the Gothic and Roman styles of architecture from 1019-1500, 481 years to build this cathedral. In 1356, and earthquake hit Basel and the Roman parts of the Basel Munster were destroyed. Reconstruction of the Basel Munster began under the guidance of Johannes Gmund-Freiburg in 1421 and took 79 years to complete under the guise of Hans von Nussdorf in 1500. The hill that the Basel Munster stands on dates from Celtic times.
At first, the Basel Munster was a Catholic church and was home to Papal Elections from 1424-1460. When the Protestant Reformation of Martin Luther hit Germany, Switzerland and other European countries in the 16th Century, many of the paintings located inside the Munster were destroyed by Protestant supporters from 1528-1529 and shortly afterward, the Basel Munster became a Protestant church and still remains so today.
A century of renovations of the Basel Munster occurred from 1880-1980 and while I was there in 2011, construction was being done in the Munsterplatz. Due to several paintings and Catholic relics being destroyed during the Reformation, I notice that the Basel Munster's interiors are not as elaborate and ostentatious as its sister cathedrals of Freiburg and Strasbourg and other cities, but to me it was still a beautiful place to visit.
The Basel Munster is open daily except for when services are being held on Sundays. It is free to go inside but donations are accepted and there are postcards and other souvenirs for sale at a little shop inside. It is well-worth your time to see the Basel Munster for its fascinating history as a Catholic and Protestant Church during its almost thousand-year history.
From journal A Little Taste of Switzerland, Germany, and Italy
April 8, 2005
Just some of it:
One one side of the main gate, you see the holy Martin sharing his clothes. On the other side is Georg the Dragon slayer (with quite a cute dragon, actually). The gate on the side of the building has the wheel of fortune over it. Inside somewhere is the Jewish Star of David on the ground.
The towers can be climbed, but I think you have to have a reservation to do that. The stairs are small and steep. It’s a real experience, and they go up very high.
From journal Basel - city at the border of three countries