St. Alban, Basel. Photo/Foto: TES.

The St. Alban Church

The St. Alban valley is located on the Rhine east of the Münster of Basel and was already inhabited by fishermen, boatmen and traders before the arrival of the Romans. The district of St. Alban still has a water source and a water wheel (at the current paper museum). The water mills were introduced by the Romans. The first church dates from the fifth century, when Basel was already the bishop’s residence. Around 400 Basilia is mentioned in written documents as the bishop’s town and no longer Augst or Kaiseraugst, the ancient Roman town of Augusta Raurica.

Burkhard von Hasenburg (1040-1107), bishop of Basel, founded in 1083 the monastery of St. Alban next to the existing Carolingian-Romanesque St. Alban’s church and handed over the administration to the powerful abbey of Cluny. The Romanesque monastery was rebuilt in 1304 in Gothic style, but in 1356 (earthquake) and 1417 (fire) the monastery building was almost completely destroyed, only the cloister stayed intact. The iconoclasm of 1529 destroyed all the works of art of the church and the church became Protestant. It was not until 1845 that the canton approved the restoration of the church as it can still be seen today. (Source: A. Meyer, Ursprung und Geschichte von St. Alban in Basel, Landquart, 1975).