Basel Minster

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Basel Minster
Image of the object
Basel Minster west facade
Basic data
Place: Basel
Canton: Basel city
Country: Switzerland
Altitude : 270  m
Coordinates: 47 ° 33 '23.1 "  N , 7 ° 35' 32.1"  E ; CH1903:  six hundred and eleven thousand five hundred and sixty-three  /  two hundred sixty-seven thousand three hundred eleven
Use: Evangelical Reformed Church
Accessibility: Observation tower open to the public
Tower data
Construction time : 1230
Total height : 67.30  m
Viewing platform: 48.00  m
Position map
Basel Minster (Canton of Basel-Stadt)
Basel Minster
Basel Minster
Localization of the canton of Basel-Stadt in Switzerland
Location of the minster on the Rhine
typical roof covering as beaver tails

The Basel Minster is one of the main attractions and a symbol of the city of Basel . The cathedral shapes the cityscape with the red sandstone design and the colorful roof tiles , its two slender church towers and the cross-pervading main roofs. The former bishop's church , today reformed Protestant , was built between 1019 and 1500 in Romanesque and Gothic styles.

In front of the Basel Münster is the Münsterplatz , named after him , which is lined with many former canons .

Building history

This woodcut by Wilhelm Pleydenwurff in Schedel's world chronicle is the only known illustration showing the Basel Minster under construction. However, the picture is historically incorrect: In the picture, the Georgsturm is incomplete, while in reality the Georgsturm was built in front of the Martinsturm.
Sketch of today's minster
Detail of the Gothic spire

The complex building history of the minster spans more than 500 years.

Previous buildings

The cathedral hill was already built on in late Celtic times (1st century BC). Archaeological excavations have uncovered a pre-Roman wall ( Murus Gallicus ) . In addition to the gates, one can partially reconstruct the former course of the road. At the site of today's minster, the street divided and led around a building that was probably a street temple . Later the Romans built a fort on the cathedral hill .

Justinianus (343–346) is known to be the first bishop of Basel , but his seat was in Augusta Raurica . After that, reliable information is only available again about Ragnacharius , who was bishop of Augst and Basel at the beginning of the 7th century. Presumably he moved the bishopric to Basel, which gained in importance during this time, while Augusta Raurica was largely destroyed after the Romans withdrew. Nothing is known about bishops in the meantime. Nothing is known about a cathedral building by the Basel bishops in the 7th and 8th centuries.

First construction, Haito-Münster

The exact beginnings of the minster are unclear. The originally Carolingian church, the so-called Haito Minster, was built in the first half of the 9th century (805–823) by the Basel bishop Haito , abbot of the Reichenau monastery on Lake Constance . The floor plan of the cathedral has been archaeologically proven. The Haito building probably consisted of a hall, several side rooms on the long side and two round towers on the west side. The striking west section led to a curved street, which has remained that way to this day when you move from Rittergasse towards the cathedral. From the chapel to the south was the bishop's palace - the palatium or the palatinate . What the church looked like in the east is not certain. What is certain, however, is that the Haito building had a crypt underneath the sanctuary . Nothing is left of the furnishings either, but a barrier system (cancellus) and an altar ciborium are attested by written records.

In its time, the Haito Cathedral was an unusual building, as three-aisled structures for churches began to prevail at that time. Since the building was a hall church , it followed an old-fashioned architectural style, on the other hand the double tower facade was one of the earliest of its kind. In 917, the Haito Minster was affected by the Hungarian Tower . It is not entirely clear how severe the damage to the church was.

Second building, Heinrichsmünster

After the turn of the millennium, Bishop Adalbero II had a new Ottonian - early Romanesque building built on the foundations of the previous building. The name of the three-aisled cathedral Heinrichsmünster (sometimes also called Adalbero-Dom) is based on its sponsor, Emperor Heinrich II. He and his wife Kunigunde were considered city patrons and enjoyed special veneration. Ecclesiastically, however, the minster was a Marienkirche. In 1006, the Burgundian town of Basel came into Heinrich's possession. City lord in Basel became the bishop on behalf of the emperor.

This building, consecrated on October 11, 1019 in the presence of Emperor Heinrich II and Empress Kunigunde, did not have an extended crypt, which excavations from 1973/1974 have shown. Towards the end of the 11th century a tower of light was built on the west side of limestone and molasses - sandstone . This structure has been preserved to this day and forms the lower part of today's north tower (Georgsturm). The Heinrichsmünster did not have a tower in the south.

Third building, late Romanesque new building

Today's building is essentially based on the late Romanesque new building from the last third of the 12th century (1180–1220 / 1230). On the ground plan of the previous building, a three-aisled church building was created with a transept . Mighty bundles of pillars supported the building, and yet the Basel earthquake of 1356 destroyed the five towers, various vaults and parts of the crypts . Under the master builder Johann Parler , who was also the master builder of Freiburg / Br. the partly destroyed church was rebuilt and the high altar was consecrated again in 1363 . In 1414 Ulrich von Ensingen , the builder of the cathedral towers in Ulm and Strasbourg , designed the plans for the expansion of the northern Georgsturm ; This was completed in 1428. The southern Martinsturm , however, was completed on July 23, 1500 by Hans von Nussdorf . On this date, the cathedral was officially completed. The large and small cloisters were also built in the 15th century . Until the Reformation in 1529, the minster served as an episcopal cathedral church. Two major restorations took place in the 19th century. In this case, was 1852 to 1857 jube added and the westernmost Vierungs crypt closed. In the 20th century, the main objective of the renovation work was to bring the late Romanesque building stock more to the fore, and some of the renovations from the 1850s were reversed. For this purpose, the ground level of the minster was set back to the original level in 1975 and the crossing crypt was made accessible again. Since 1985, a newly opened construction hut has been dedicated to the increasingly deteriorating condition of the red sandstone on the exterior of the minster.

Other historical events

Lithograph of the Basel Minster

Election of the Pope at Basel Minster

Pope Martin V informed the Basel government in 1424 that their city had been chosen as the venue for the next council . Between 1431 and 1448 the Basel Council met in the cathedral with the main aim of carrying out church reform. When Cesarini, then President of the Council , left Basel in 1438 on the instructions of Pope Eugene IV , one year later, on July 24, 1440, Felix V was elected as antipope in the Haus zur Mücke on Basel's Münsterplatz. When this could not prevail, the German Emperor Friedrich III. the dissolution of the council in Basel. After the dissolution of the " Curia University ", the citizens tried to found a new university. Pope Pius II , who acted as secretary during the council, then issued the foundation bull , and on April 4, 1460, the Basel University was opened as a full university .


The iconoclasm of the Reformation movement in 1528 and 1529 lost the city and Basel Minster of many valuable works of art. Many Basel churches were stormed by numerous citizens during these months, some at gunpoint, in order to destroy pictures and statues. The influential reformer Huldrych Zwingli rejected the worship of God in the form of images as idolatry .

Around 1 p.m. on February 9, 1529, a group of 40 armed men is said to have made their way from the busy market square up to the cathedral. They are said to have entered the church, where a clumsy guild brother with a halberd struck an altarpiece , which fell to the ground and broke. The armed men then left the cathedral to bring in reinforcements. The chaplains then closed the church. With a total of 200 men, the reinforced group gathered and rumbled in front of the closed gates of the minster. In the end they entered with force, smashed and trampled crucifixes , images of Mary and depictions of saints in a frenzy . The mob attacked the altars and indulged in a blind lust for destruction. In the further course of the afternoon the iconoclasm spread to other churches in Basel.

Erasmus of Rotterdam described the iconoclasm in Basel in a letter dated May 9, 1529 as follows:

“Nothing was left intact from the statues, neither in the churches, nor in the vestibules, nor in the cloisters, nor in the monasteries . What was left of painted pictures was covered with a whitewash of lime; what was flammable was thrown at the stake, what was not was shattered piece by piece. Neither value nor art could have spared anything. "

The shock of the contemporary witness speaks from the description of Erasmus; The surviving medieval sculptures show that the destruction was not as extensive as he and other reports critical of the Reformation testify. The cathedral treasure could also be saved and was completely preserved until the canton was divided .


Georg and Martin Tower

Representation of Saint Martin
Sculpture.  St George, dragon slayer and martyr at the Basel Minster.  A copy in original size can be seen in the Museum Kleines Klingental (Basel).
St George slayer and martyr

The main facade facing west is dominated by the two towers, the northern 67.3 meter high Georgsturm and the southern Martinsturm (65.5 meters) completed in 1500 . The towers are named after the knight saints Georg and Martin . The two saints are shown next to the main portal on high pilasters below the respective towers by corresponding equestrian statues (copies). The statue of St. Martin dates from 1340; the original can be found today in the Klingental Museum , the current copy comes from Ferdinand Schlöth . Below the Georg tower there is a monumental representation (1372) of the knight Georg fighting with a noticeably small dragon.

The minster, which originally had five towers, was rebuilt with only two towers after the severe earthquake of 1356 . The Strasbourg cathedral master builder Ulrich von Ensingen was able to be won over for the upper construction of the northern Georgsturm, who provided a plan drawing in 1414. His son-in-law, the Ulm cathedral master builder Hans Kun, continued the construction. In the years 1470–1475, the southern Martinsturm, damaged by fire, was first statically secured under the direction of the Constance cathedral builder Vincenz Ensinger . The construction management had his parlier Hans Nussdorf , who after Vincenz Ensinger's dismissal was appointed as the leading builder in 1477/78 because of “mistakes in the tower”.

On the older Georgsturm you can see the lower bright part, which remained intact during the earthquake. A magnificent finial was placed on the Martinsturm in 1500 . From the south tower you can visit the tower clock from 1883 by means of a steep spiral staircase. The church bell chair is located between the two towers, which are connected by a gallery. Both Georgs and Martinsturm can be climbed in 242 steps and offer a great view of the city of Basel and the foothills of the Black Forest and Jura .

The two towers consist of three lower, undivided floors and several free floors. The lower two floors are simple and block-like. The upper floors of the towers rise above the tracery gallery. Since these did not arise at the same time, they differed slightly from their appearance. At the north tower, the storey with an octagonal cross-section and the tower spire start over a square storey. This is not done in the south tower. As with the Freiburg Minster, slender pinnacle towers protrude from the corners of the octagons.

Attached stair towers with a pentagonal floor plan led to the top of both cathedral towers. The art historian Walter Ueberwasser (1898–1972) was able to demonstrate the variations in the geometric construction principle in the series of late Gothic Basel goldsmiths' tears.

Display of the sundial

There is a mechanical clock and a sundial on the Martinsturm. At first glance, the display on the sundial is confusing, but it is not wrong; it shows the old Basel time , which was valid in Basel up to the establishment of the Helvetic in 1798.

Main portal

Main portal
Donor figure at the main portal

At the main portal there is an empty column between the portal doors on which a statue of the Virgin Mary used to stand. The tympanum above contained a multi-zone depiction of the Last Judgment, as is also known from other large Gothic cathedral buildings. Both were destroyed during the Reformation ( see: Iconoclasm ). The feet of the severed figures of the lowest tympanum zone are still visible above the lintel. What has been preserved are the arches depicting prophets and kings, roses, dancing angels and Abraham . They belong to the first phase of the main portal and were made around 1270 by the so-called Erminold master . At that time, the main portal was still in a vestibule, from where it was moved to its current location after the earthquake of 1356 .

The donor figures of Henry II and his wife Empress Kunigunde are to the left of the main portal. The emperor, who is unusually young and beardless, carries a model of a church on his arm, which identifies him as the founder of the cathedral. His wife has only been given a cross since the exterior renovation from 1880 to 1980. Originally, she was holding gloves.

To the right of the main portal you can see the portraits of a seducer ("Prince of the World") and a foolish virgin . While the virgin smiles and opens her dress, snakes and toads climb up behind the seducer, which are supposed to symbolize malice. The depiction dates from around 1280. The statues and the masonry of the minster are made of red sandstone that was brought from the Wiesental and Degerfelden .

North side with Gallus Gate

Gallus Gate and "Wheel of Fortune"

The Galluspforte (1150/1170) is the most important Romanesque sculptures work of Switzerland and is considered the oldest Romanesque portal figure in Germany. It got its name from a former altar that used to rise in the north transept of the minster. The gate, which on the north facade of the transept shows numerous figures in an archaic way, is reminiscent of a triumphal arch . The portal is almost entirely preserved in its original form. Around the heavy bronze door from 1892 there are depictions of the four evangelists , foolish and wise virgins, as well as angels with fanfares , who rise from their graves and dead before the Last Judgment . In the Bogenfeld, Christ is enthroned as a mild, philanthropic judge of the world. Overall, the figures appear very expressive in their gestures and facial expressions , which is rare in Romanesque figures. For a long time, art historical research was divided on whether the Gallus Gate was built into the west facade and moved to the north wall in 1285 or whether the current location corresponds to the original building site. However, recent investigations now show that the Gallus Gate was manufactured for the current location.

The Gallus Gate has been painted in different colors since its creation in the 12th century. Remains of several red paints lie over a colored Gothic and a colored post-Reformation version.

Above the Gallus Gate there is a rose window , which represents a monumental wheel of fortune. Around the circular windows around to figures that the variability of the earthly happiness cling symbolize . The spokes and hub of the rosette were originally made of oak, but were replaced by sandstone in the 19th century. Above, a man is enthroned under a Gothic canopy . The usual representation of Fortuna , the goddess of fate, is missing here. Cracks from the 1356 earthquake are visible between the gate and the wheel window.

The facade of the transept is framed by two large supporting pillars and thus closes off the north side to the east.

Choir and palatinate

Munster and Palatinate illuminated by night

The facade of the northeastern choir , Romanesque in the lower part, is rich in sculptural decorations. These include grotesque figures, semi-creatures and elephants (Ilpen), which the stonecutters of the time never saw. The base of the choir is surrounded by a row of arches. The choir of the Basel Minster faces northeast and not east as is usual with Christian sacred buildings. The cathedral has a polygonal ambulatory choir with a low gallery and a high upper aisle . The stumps of the former choir flank towers can be seen on the side of the upper aisle. These collapsed in the earthquake in 1356 and were not rebuilt. The massive buttresses of the cathedral relieve the choir and leave arches open to walk through.

The eastern part of the choir is located on an almost 20 meter high raised terrace, called the Pfalz , from which one has a sweeping view of the Rhine and the knee of the Rhine . From there you also have an unobstructed view of Kleinbasel, the border triangle and, on a clear day, the Vosges . Between the Wettstein Bridge and the Middle Rhine Bridge , the Münster ferry also connects the two halves of Basel.

Interior and equipment


Central nave of Basel Minster with a view of the choir

The interior of the three-aisled church is 65 meters long and 32.5 meters wide. If you add the side aisles with a row of burial chapels, the minster has five aisles. Most of the colored glass windows date from the 19th century. In the Gothic choir section there are panes in the neo-Gothic style. The large choir window depicts the four evangelists. The two wheel windows in the north and south transepts are particularly worth mentioning . They depict scenes of Christ's baptism. The vault of the high central nave and the upper part of the choir were rebuilt in the Gothic style after the Basel earthquake. During restoration work, it was discovered that the vault of the central nave was painted with a cycle of Mary. This was probably made around 1400 and can only be made visible with ultraviolet light.

In the choir aisle is the sarcophagus of Queen Anna von Habsburg and her son Karl. She had married the later King Rudolf von Habsburg as Gertrud von Hohenberg around 1245 and died in Vienna in 1281. From there, her body was transferred to Basel. The bones found in her grave (a woman, a child, a man) were moved to the monastery of St. Blasien in 1770 ; Today they rest in the St. Paul Abbey in Lavanttal in Carinthia .

In the south transept you can find the stone baptismal font from 1465, as well as the bishop's throne , which was built in 1380. The builder Hans von Nussdorf created an artfully decorated pulpit in the Gothic style from five sandstone blocks in 1486.


Organ in the Basel Minster (Mathis 2003)

According to a document from 1303, the oldest mentioned organ in Switzerland was located in Basel Minster . This organ, built by Magister Raspo from Frankfurt am Main , is no longer preserved and was replaced by a swallow's nest organ after the Basel earthquake . Between 1529 and 1561, organ playing was banned by the Reformation, but then reintroduced.

Today's organ was inaugurated at Pentecost 2003. It comes from Orgelbau Mathis , the prospectus draft from Peter Märkli . The organ body was split so as not to cover the window. The gothic rood screen made of red sandstone, which was renovated before the new organ was installed, serves as the organ grandstand. The organ has four manuals and a pedal on 78 stops with mechanical play and stop action (double action) with the following disposition :

I substation C – a 3
Praestant 08th'
Dumped 08th'
Quintatön 08th'
octave 04 ′
Reed flute 04 ′
Sesquialtera II 0 02 23
octave 02 ′
recorder 02 ′
Larigot 01 13
Scharff IV – V 01'
Krummhorn 08th'
II main work C – a 3
Principal 16 ′
Bourdon 16 ′
octave 08th'
Bourdon 08th'
Flûte harmonique 0 08th'
Viol 08th'
octave 04 ′
flute 04 ′
Major ore 03 15
Fifth 02 23
Super octave 02 ′
Mixture major V 02 23
Mixture minor IV 01 13
Cornett V 08th'
Trumpet 16 ′
Trumpet 08th'
Clairon 04 ′
III Positive C – a 3
Pommer 16 ′
Principal 08th'
Double flute 08th'
Viol flute 08th'
Salicional 08th'
Unda maris 08th'
Fugara 04 ′
Funnel flute 0 04 ′
Gemshorn 04 ′
Nasard 02 23
Duplicate 02 ′
third 01 35
Mixture IV-V 02 ′
Cymbel III 01'
bassoon 16 ′
prong 08th'
Clarinet 08th'
IV Swell C – a 3
Bourdon 16 ′
diapason 08th'
Cor de nuit 08th'
Viole de Gambe 08th'
Voix céleste 08th'
Prestant 04 ′
Flûte octaviante 04 ′
Salicet 04 ′
Octavine 02 ′
Piccolo 01'
Harmonia aetherea 0 02 23
Plein Jeu V 02 23
Bombard 16 ′
Trompette harmonique 0 08th'
Hautbois 08th'
Voix humaine 08th'
Clairon 04 ′
Pedal C – f 1
Principal 32 ′
Sub bass 32 ′
Wooden principal 16 ′
Covered bass 00 16 ′
Violone 16 ′
octave 08th'
flute 08th'
cello 08th'
octave 04 ′
flute 04 ′
Back set IV 04 ′
Mixture IV 02 23
Bombard 16 ′
trombone 16 ′
Trumpet 08th'
Tromba 08th'
  • Coupling : I / II, III / II, III 16 ′ / II, IV / II, IV 16 ′ / II, IV / III, IV 16 ′ / IV, I / P, II / P, III / P, IV / P, IV 4 ′ / P.
  • Playing aids : setter system.


  1. ↑ Resounding .
The organ console in Basel Minster, 2011

The predecessor organ of the company Th.Kuhn AG (Männedorf), set up in 1956 , was dismantled in 2002 by Orgelbau Schmid (Kaufbeuren) and transferred to Moscow, except for register No. 65, Principal Bass 32 ′ , where it was installed in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception . Register No. 65, Principal Bass 32 ′, comes from the organ from 1850 and is not allowed to leave Switzerland, as it is part of the Swiss cultural heritage. It has been integrated into all the organs of Basel Minster since 1850.

Münster organists

The oldest known Münster organist is called "Magister Dietrich" around 1400. Hans Gross from Nuremberg is mentioned as the last incumbent before the Reformation, after which the Catholic Säckinger Gregor Meyer (1510–1576) took over the post as the first Protestant cathedral organist. From 1577 the Franco-Flame Samuel Mareschall was in office until his death in 1640. His successors were:

  • Johann Jakob Wolleb d. Ä. (1642 to 1649)
  • Sebastian Komber (1649 to 1650)
  • Johann Jakob Wolleb d. Ä. (1650 to 1668)
  • Johannes Wolleb (1668 to 1677)
  • Johann Jakob Wolleb d. J. (1677 to 1692)
  • Karl Dietrich Schwab (1692 to 1709)
  • Johann Jakob Pfaff (1709 to 1729)
  • Christoph Gengenbach (1729 to 1770)
  • Jakob Christoph Gengenbach (1770 to 1795)
  • Samuel Schneider (1795 to 1838)
  • Benedict Jucker (1838 to 1876)
  • Alfred Glaus (1876 to 1906)
  • Adolf Hamm (1906 to 1938)
  • Fritz Morel (1939 to 1970)
  • Eduard Müller (1970 to 1982)

From 1982 to 2013 Felix Pachlatko was the organist of the Basel cathedral . Andreas Liebig has been his successor in office since May 2014 .

Erasmus epitaph

The humanist Erasmus von Rotterdam stayed in Basel for many years, from 1514 to 1516, from 1521 to 1529, and from 1535 to 1536. After a stay in Freiburg im Breisgau during the Reformation , he returned to Basel and died here at the age of about seventy in 1536. He was buried in the cathedral. The fact that Erasmus was given this place of honor as a Catholic clergyman in Reformed Basel shows the extraordinary respect that he enjoyed across denominations. His grave originally stood in front of the rood screen in the central nave. The epitaph was moved in the 19th century , but the grave was not rediscovered until 1974. The remains of the humanist rest right in front of the epitaph in the north aisle.

The epitaph does not depict the deceased, but bears a 25 line long, gilded inscription on a red marble with a Latin text that refers to the merits of Erasmus of Rotterdam and the names of the three humanist friends Bonifacius Amerbach , Hieronymus Froben (in his house Erasmus died) and Nikolaus Bischoff performs. They commissioned the epitaph, which was created by Hans Mentzinger in 1538 . The ancient deity Terminus is shown in a medallion, symbolizing the limitation. The Latin saying concedeo nulli (I don't give in to anyone) was the personal motto of Erasmus von Rotterdam.

Vincentian tablet

Vincentian tablet

In close proximity to the Erasmus epitaph is the Vincentian tablet. The masterpiece of Romanesque sculpture is believed to date from around 1200. On four fields, reliefs depict the life of the deacon Vincentius of Valencia , who was martyred around 304 AD . On the fields you can see from top left to bottom right: Vincentius is convicted, scourged and locked in a tower where he is tortured on a fire grate until his death. The body thrown for the animals to eat is defended by ravens and sunk by the preachers. His body washes ashore; Builders erect a church for his grave.

The table originally served as an altar decoration. From the design of the robes - such as the two angels in the lower left field - it can be concluded that the unknown sculptor was familiar with ancient (Greek and Roman) sculpture.

Wall and ceiling painting

Ceiling painting in the crypt

The east side of the crypt of Basel Minster has significant wall paintings from the late Romanesque period. In the middle apse niche are the pictures of two Basel bishops. On the one hand, these represent Lütold von Aarburg (1191–1213) and an Albero. The second is probably Adalbero II, the builder of the Ottonian minster. A Latin inscription between the two figures documents the erection of the Marien Altar in 1202. The style of the murals is close to the Strasbourg glass painting of the time.

In the vault of the crypt passage there are frescoes from the second half of the 14th century. The paintings depict scenes from the life of Saints Margaretha , Maria and Anna . In the northern vault the passion of the early Christian martyr Margaretha is depicted.

In 1998, a hitherto unknown fragment of painting was discovered in the nave. Employees of the Münsterbauhütte came across traces of a cycle of Mary from 1400 to 1430, which must have been scraped off and whitewashed after the iconoclasm.



The crypt consisted of an east and a west crossing crypt until the 1850s. Today only the east crypt remains. From the sides of the choir you can get down to the crypt , which contains the graves of the Basel bishops from the 10th to 13th centuries. The oldest sarcophagus comes from Bishop Rudolf II, who died in the Hungarian invasion in 917. Today it stands in the northern apse-idol of the gallery. Two bishops are depicted to the side of the central apsidiole: Adalbero I - the builder of the Heinrichsmünster - and Lütold I von Aarburg, the founder of the Marien Altar. Their graves were found in front of this apse in 1907. There are also grave slabs of other personalities here.

The earlier crypt from the early Romanesque Heinrichsbau was equipped with a walkway extending over two storeys . The crypt, rebuilt after the earthquake of 1356, is a three-aisled pillar hall. The passage was closed with a vault. The vault painting dates from around 1400. In the crossing crypt, which is only in ruins today, there is a lapidarium .


Inner courtyard of the great cloister
Münster seen from the cloister

The double cloister is located on the south side of the minster . The great cloister was built in the late Gothic style between 1429 and 1462. The small cloister was built between 1467 and the end of the 1480s. In the northeast corner , a figure (St. Catherine with a wheel) adorns the keystone . A hall connects the two cloisters. Above this hall is the Münstersaal, which is not open to the public, and where the library of the Council of Basel used to be. The hall served the bishop as a place of proclamation to the citizens and as a place of judgment; therefore there was a bishop's throne here.

In the large cloister, large-format Gothic tracery windows illuminate the west wing of the vault, which is equipped with a ribbed network and colorful keystones . The great cloister is considered to be the most elegant and ornate in Switzerland with excellent examples of the late Gothic stonemasonry . Numerous elaborately crafted grave slabs and epitaphs are attached to the walls , above the graves of important Basel citizens, among others. a. by the humanist Thomas Platter (1499–1582), the mayor Rudolf Wettstein (1594–1666), the philosopher Isaak Iselin (1728–1782) and the chancellor Jakob Löffler, who fled Württemberg . At the entrance to the cloister is a statue of the reformer Johannes Oekolampad . The Swiss sculptor Bettina Eichin created the two bronze sculptures of the market tables in the cloister in 1986.

The epitaph of the mathematician Jakob I Bernoulli (1655–1705) is located between the small and large cloisters . The sculptor Johann Jakob Keller (1665–1747) commissioned to do this was to put a logarithmic spiral on Bernoulli's tombstone as a symbol of eternal return, which he particularly enjoyed and which he called spira mirabilis ; Instead, the sculptor erroneously chiseled an Archimedean spiral . The enigmatic Latin text EADEM MUTATA RESURGO around the spiral translates as: “As changed I appear again as the same”, which is supposed to indicate ambiguity and self-similarity. In this context, it is of interest that the seal of the Philosophical and Natural Science Faculty of the University of Basel also contains a logarithmic spiral and Bernoulli's funeral motto.

The motif of the logarithmic spiral is also known from a sculpture preserved as a spolia on the sign to the Loretto Chapel in Murbach (Alsace) above the Murbach Monastery . There a winged genius with an hourglass leans against the oversized house of a snail, which crawls towards a flower with its antennae up. The snail shell is decorated with a spiral which increases its distance from the center by the same factor with each revolution, so that the radius increases proportionally to the spiral length; this description corresponds to the definition of a logarithmic spiral, also called "Bernoulli spiral".

Originals of the cathedral sculptures

Many of the Romanesque and Gothic figures in Basel Minster had to be replaced by copies for conservation reasons. The original sculptures can now be found in the form of a permanent exhibition in the Kleines Klingental Museum .

Large-format sculptures from the west portal and the minster towers as well as the Romanesque animal sculptures and wheel of fortune figures from the exterior of the minster are shown. Components of the former interior fittings can also be viewed - altar panels, grave sculptures and parts of the valuable carved choir stalls.


Pope's bell

The Basel Minster has a total of 10 bells.

A seven-part bell hangs in the two facade towers; the oldest bell is the Heinrichs bell in Georgsturm from 1565, cast by the bell founders Franz Sermund (Bern) and Marx Spörlin (Basel); the remaining six bells are distributed between the two towers, they were cast in 1873 by the bell founder Jakob Keller II from Zurich.

Casting year
1 Pope's bell 1873 6504 ges 0
2 1873 3455 b 0
3 Heinrichsbell 1565 2940 of the 1st
4th 1873 1415 it 1
5 1873 960 f 1
6th 1873 810 ges 1
7th 1873 406 b 1

On the floor above the tower gallery of the Martinsturm there are three bells hanging to strike the hour.


The sundial on Basel Minster shows the old Basel time .

Until the Reformation, the Basel Minster was a bishop's church (cathedral) and the main church of the diocese of Basel , which was a suffragan diocese of the archbishopric of Besançon . The cathedral also included the bishop's residence ( Palatium / Pfalz, later “Bishop's Court”) and the residential buildings of the canons. Since the 12th century they lived in their own houses in the neighborhood of the bishop's church.

Since the iconoclasm on February 9, 1529, the minster has been the main church of the Evangelical Reformed Church in Basel-Stadt. Since the separation of church and state, the Evangelical Reformed Church has been the sole owner of the building; Nevertheless, the canton of Basel-Stadt contributes three quarters of the maintenance costs. The parishes of the Gellert Church and St. Jacob's Church also belong to the Münster parish .

The minster is the place of regular church services and church music events. Concerts by the Basler Münsterkantorei , the Basler Gesangverein and organists take place here throughout the year . The Basel City Trombone Choir organizes vespers from the cathedral tower or in the cloister every Saturday afternoon.


Web links

Commons : Basler Münster  - Collection of Images

Pages about the Basel Minster as a building

Minster concerts and organ

Research at Basel Minster

Spiritual meaning of the column capitals

360 ° panorama from Basel Minster

Individual evidence

  1. MGH Capit. 1, 16, p. 364; Christian Wilsdorf: L'évêque Haito reconstructeur de la cathédrale de Bâle, premier quart du 9e siècle. Deux textes retrouvés. In: Bulletin monumental, Vol. 133, 1975, pp. 175-181.
  2. ^ Hans-Rudolf Meier: Repair and reconstruction after the great earthquake. The offset marks on Basel Minster. In: INSITU. Zeitschrift für Architekturgeschichte , 7 (1/2015), pp. 37–58.
  3. ^ The iconoclasm of 1528/29 in Basel. Archived from the original on March 21, 2011 ; Retrieved October 6, 2014 .
  4. Size and material , accessed on September 12, 2018
  5. ^ Johann Josef Böker u. a .: The architecture of the Gothic, Vol. 3: The Rhineland. An inventory catalog of medieval architectural drawings. Müry & Salzmann, Salzburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-99014-064-2 , p. 33.
  6. Paul of Naredi-Rainer: Architecture and harmony. DuMont Verlag Cologne, ISBN 3-7701-1196-6 , p. 222.
  7. Meier, Schwinn Schürmann: heaven door.
  8. ^ Schwinn Schürmann: The Basel Minster. Page 15.
  9. ^ Project: The Gallus Gate of Basel Minster. Archived from the original on February 21, 2006 ; Retrieved October 6, 2014 .
  10. Meier, Schwinn Schürmann: Threshold to Paradise. Pages 32–43.
  11. a b
  12. "Uncle, may I whistle?" ( Memento of the original from March 28, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. - Interview with organ builder Gunnar Schmid (Orgelbau Schmid Kaufbeuren eK) by Jan Smirnizki (Russian), web edition of the newspaper Moskowski Komsomolez , January 17, 2005; Retrieved April 6, 2009. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. ^ The organs and organists in the Basel Minster , accessed on July 18, 2020.
  14. Press release of the ref. Church of Basel dated December 12, 2013, accessed on May 29, 2014.
  15. Press release of the ref. Church of Basel from April 7, 2014, accessed on May 29, 2014.
  16. ^ Schwinn Schürmann: The Basel Minster. P. 42.
  17. Carola Jäggi: Invisible to the naked eye - newly discovered vault paintings from the early 15th century in the Basel Minster. In: Journal for Swiss Archeology and Art History, vol. 56, 1999, pp. 245–264.
  18. Information on the chime bells
  19. Information on the bells on the Basel Minster website
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on April 20, 2005 in this version .