Grossmünster, 1100-1230, Zurich. Photo: TES.

The Grossmünster in Zurich

The episcopal churches of Chur and Basel and the Grossmünster in Zurich are a group of late-Romanesque pillar basilicas.

The Grossmünster also shows the trans-European character of Romanesque art and medieval art in general.

Elements of the episcopal Church of Constance, the St. Trinite ( Abbaye des Dames) and St. Etienne in Caen, the Cathedral in Speyer and St. Michele in Pavia are also present in the Grossmünster.

The beginning of the Grossmünster is not known. Charles the Fat (839-888) converted a monastery into an abbey around 870.

Archaeological research suggests a Carolingian basilica with three naves. Around 1100 the construction of the present cathedral began, which was completed in six phases until 1230.

The building was extended, renovated or destroyed/refurbished (Reformation) or by fire (1763). The spires of the towers were added and the interior was adapted to the Baroque style (1781-1786).

The Romanesque interior was gradually reintroduced after 1832.

(Source: D. Gutscher, Grossmünster Zürich, Bern 1995)