The Basel Minster is one of the main landmarks and tourist attractions of the
Swiss city of Basel. It adds definition to the cityscape with its red sandstone
architecture and coloured roof tiles, its two slim towers and the cross-shaped
intersection of the main roof. It is listed as a heritage site of national
significance in Switzerland.
Originally a Catholic cathedral and today a
reformed Protestant church, it was built between 1019 and 1500 in Romanesque and
Gothic styles. The late Romanesque building was destroyed by the 1356 Basel
earthquake and rebuilt by Johannes Gmund, who was at the same time employed for
building the Freiburg Munster. This building was extended from 1421 by Ulrich
von Ensingen, architect of the cathedral towers at Ulm and Strasbourg. The
southern tower was completed in 1500 by Hans von NuBdorf.
The artwork and
religious iconography of Basel Minster is greatly celebrated - look out for
portraits of Henry II and his wife Empress Kunigunde who were great benefactors
to Basel Minster as well as a series of story panels that show a 'Prince of this
world' seducing an unfortunate virgin. Desiderius Erasmus, the great Renaissance
theologian, is buried at Basel Munster as is the renowned mathematician Jacob
Bernoulli (also known as James or Jacques).