Thun, Schertzligen Kirche. Photo: TES.

Twelf Thunersee Churches

Around 1450, the parish priest of Einigen, Elogius Kiburger, reported in his “Strättliger Kronik”, that 12 churches had been built near the Thunersee in the tenth century: in Frutingen, Leissigen, Aeschi, Wimmis, Uttigen, Thierachem, Schertzlingen, Thun, Hilterfingen, Sigriswil, Annseltingen and Spiez. According to the chronicle, these  churches would be the execution of a revelation to the King of Burgundy Rudolf II (c. 890-937) to build these twelve churches around Einigen. Some of the churches still exist and share many common features. They are classied by scholars as one group, the so-called Thunerseekirchen. Rudolf maintained close ties with Lombardy and was briefly King over this area (922-926). The similarities with the San Pietro in Agliate, the San Paragorio in Noli and the Sant’Ambrogio in Milan are striking.

Eight churches (in Aeschi, Amsoldingen, Einigen, Scherzligen, Spiez, Sigriswil, Wimnis, and Thierachter) have a clear Romanesque architecture, with or without Gothic, nineteenth century or even more recent renovations. No original parts of the other churches have been preserved. (Source: H-R. Meier, Romanische Schweiz, Würzburg 1996).