Ulm Minster, like Cologne Cathedral, was begun in the Gothic era and not completed until the late 19th century. It is the tallest church in the world, and the 4th tallest structure built before the 20th century, with a steeple measuring 161.5 metres. From the top level at 143m there is a panoramic view of Ulm.

The foundation stone was laid in 1377. The planned church was to have three naves of equal height, a main spire on the west and two steeples above the choir. In 1392 Ulrich Ensingen (associated with Strasbourg Cathedral) was appointed master builder. It was his plan to make the western church tower the tallest spire, which it remains in the present day. The church, consisting of the longitudinal naves and the choir, covered by a temporary roof, was consecrated in 1405. However, structural damage, caused by the height of the naves and the weight of the heavy vaulting, necessitated a reconstruction of the lateral naves which were supported by a row of additional column in their centre.

In a referendum in 1530/31, the citizens of Ulm converted to Protestantism during the Reformation. Ulm Minster became a Lutheran church. In 1543 construction work was halted at a time when the steeple had reached a height of some 100 metres. The halt in the building process was caused by a variety of factors which were political and religious as well as economic. One result was economic stagnation and a steady decline, preventing major public expenditure.

In 1817 work resumed and the three steeples of the church were completed. Finally, on 31 May 1890 the building was completed.

A devastating air raid hit Ulm on 17 December 1944, which destroyed virtually the entire town west of the church to the railway station and north of the church up to the outskirts. The church itself was barely damaged. However, almost all the other buildings of the town square (Münsterplatz) were severely hit and some 80% of the medieval centre of Ulm was destroyed.

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Münsterplatz 74, Ulm, Germany
See all sites in Ulm

Details

Founded: 1377
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Habsburg Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Claudine Miguel (5 months ago)
Incredible gothic church in Ulm. Climbed to the very top spire with a baby in a backpack (a proper child hiking pack, FYI). Hard slog and not for the claustrophobic, but well worth the effort. One of my favourite churches in the world. Pay the 5 euro entrance fee.
surbhi dua (5 months ago)
Tallest Church in the World !! Fun fact - It was built by the people of Ulm and not the government. So it's been a rich city since 14th century or even before. One should climb the Münster to see the view and don't forget to take a souvenir coin on the first stop (when climbing). There's a machine in which you put 0.50€, choose a pattern and do some hard work to print it ;) PS- advised to climb on a summer evening when it's not cloudy.
Brice Tchangam (7 months ago)
Tallest church in the world. There is a lot of shops around, little nice town to be and quiet. Everybody quite speaks English so speaking German isn't forcibly a must.
Cat W (7 months ago)
Beautiful cathedral and very welcoming. Love the high ceilings and the peaceful side chapel. Just outside in December is the Christmas market.
Brian Shaw (8 months ago)
We visited Ulm for only a few hours, but visiting the Minster was top of our list! It's the tallest church in the world, and is truly a sight to behold. It's also beautiful inside, and is set in wonderful surroundings in the city centre. Definitely worth a visit in this part of Germany!
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