Konstanz Minster

Konstanz, Germany

The first mention of a church in Konstanz dedicated to the Virgin Mary was in 615. Documentary confirmation of the Episcopal church is dated to the mid 8th century. There is clear evidence indicating that it was located on the Cathedral Hill, where a late Romanesque fortification with an adjoining civilian settlement had been established. In 780, the church was mentioned in a confirmation of a contract by Charlemagne.

St. Maurice’s Rotunda (Holy Sepulchre) was built in 940 on orders of Bishop Konrad (934 - 975) who was canonized in 1123. In 1052, the cathedral collapsed. Its reconstruction took place under Bishop Rumold (1051 - 1069), with the eastern transept and three naves separated by 16 monoliths. The next 300 years saw the construction of one towers, then another, then a great fire destroyed one of the towers along with parts of the basilica as well as 96 other houses in the city. The south tower was completed in 1378.

From 1414 to 1418 the Council of Constance took place. The most important assembly of the Church during the Middle Ages, and the only one on German soil. Martin V, who had been elected Pope by the Conclave and thereby ending the schism dividing the Church, is enthroned in this Cathedral in 1417. In 1415 Jan Hus, because of his teachings, was condemned as a heretic by the Council who, at this time, was without a Pope. He was then delivered to the secular power who condemned him to death, tied him to a stake and publicly burnt him alive.

Between 1418 and 1525, the Cathedral was adapted to Gothic style by master craftsmen. In the period from 1526 to 1551, the Bishop left Konstanz because of the Reformation, and moved his See across the lake to the Martinsburg in Meersburg. The radical iconoclasm instigated by the reformer Huldrych Zwingli in nearby Zurich, caused the destruction of artwork in the Cathedral.

The subsequent centuries saw the addition of more paintings, wrought iron gates and sculptures, as well as the replacement and repair of destroyed items. Of note is the replacement of the painted Romanesque wooden ceiling by brick vaulting in 1637.

In 1821, Konstanz's bishopric, the largest in Germany, was dissolved and, in 1827, moved to Freiburg in the Breisgau. It had served the people around Lake Constance (Bodensee) for 1200 years, and survived almost 100 bishops. General restoration work took place on the Cathedral from 1844 to 1860; the tower was raised in neo-Gothic architectural style.

In 1955 Pope Pius XII raised the Cathedral to a papal Basilica Minor. A restoration program of the Cathedral’s interior as well as exterior was started in 1962 and is expected to be completed by 2010. In 1966, twelve new bells were cast and hung in the center tower and the ridge turret, a present from the state of Baden-Württemberg.

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Details

Founded: 11th century
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Salian Dynasty (Germany)

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Paulo Mendes (20 months ago)
The Konstanz Münster or Münster Our Lady is a Basilica minor in Constance on Lake Constance. Patrons of the former episcopal church are the Virgin Mary and the patrons of the former diocese of Constance, Pelagius and Konrad of Constance. The church goes back to the early days of the bishopric around the year 600 AD and was first mentioned in a document in 780. The cathedral was the cathedral of the bishops of Constance for a good twelve centuries and served as the meeting room of the Council of Constance (1414-1418). Since the abolition of the diocese in 1821, the cathedral is used as a Catholic parish church. Architecturally, the existing building is one of the largest Romanesque churches in southwestern Germany, a three-aisled pillared basilica with a cross-shaped floor plan, which was consecrated in 1089. The Romanesque building is Gothic in style, with a broad western tower block with a west portal (12th-15th centuries), rows of side chapels (15th century) and, in particular, the neo-Gothic spire built in the 19th century. The church equipment of the Romanesque and Gothic is preserved only occasionally, in the interior superimpose the equipment epochs of the Baroque, Classicism and Neo-Gothic. A special pilgrimage destination on the Schwabenweg (Way of St. James) is the Romanesque Mauritius Rotunda with an art-historically significant Holy-grave structure from early Gothic. As the tallest building in the historic old town, it still dominates the cityscape with its distinctive outline.The Konstanz Münster is a three-aisled basilica with transept and just final three-celled choir. The actual building with its simple cubaturist is unmistakably Romanesque, while the tracery on all sides and the high pointed arch windows testify to the late medieval will to harmonize the church with the large Gothic bishop churches. The western side to the cathedral square is the actual show side of the church characterized by the massive stumps of the twin towers whose tracery gives them a filigree structure. From the south, the church, with a lavish side portal in the 19th century, still had a more decorative side, while today only the early Gothic south wall of the transept bears witness to its representative function. In the east, the buildings of the Mauritius Rotunda, the Kapitelsaal and the Margaretenkapelle, which are connected by the remains of the former cloister, are connected to the outer wall of the northern choir.At the nave, the overlapping of different building periods becomes particularly visible. The rows of columns to the left and right of the laity are unmistakably Romanesque and date from the Rumold period of construction after 1054. A total of sixteen columns on each side bear the semicircular arcades. They have powerful, simply worked eight-sided chalice capitals (probably after models in Goslar Cathedral) and Attic bases. Each column is made from a single block of Rorschacher sandstone. The narrow, high-pitched space creates an optical depth-wake to the altar, which the broad-span arches divide into a measured bar. The final round arch frames the ascending sequence of the strict cubes of Vierung and Hochchor (apse). The baroque ribbed vault (1679/80), which covers the space, spans the clerestory into this sequence of steps and interweaves it artistically into a unit of space. Although the vault lives from a more stage-like sense of space than the strict, measured rows of columns, it blends harmoniously into the overall space. The vaulted ribs continue the late-Gothic vaults of the aisles and the choir space, without disturbing the yoke sequence of the longboat. On the left side of the nave, the door frame can still be seen on the Obergaden, through which the hanging organ once had to be entered.
Klaus Mayer (20 months ago)
Beautiful leadlight windows with many small chapels but dark interior.
Dustin Ooley (2 years ago)
Very beautiful church with a very rich historical background. Highly recommend taking the time for a tour (you can tip the students) to get the full explanation of the many changes this church has undergone in the more than one thousand years of its life. Spend at least an hour here, as there is much to absorb.
Edwin Hopper (3 years ago)
A beautiful Cathedral, in the centre of the city, within walking distance of the Katamaran port (and Christmas market during December). Free to enter but do be quiet and respectful (maybe not the best place for very noisy children), and maybe make a contribution, there are also some quiet side chapels for prayer/ memorial candles. Outside you can see a section of the Roman Fort which used to stand at the site.
Lukas Timko (3 years ago)
Beautiful catholic church. Must see when in Konstanz. If you want to run away from the busy world for a moment than go inside. Inside you will find peace and quiet place surrounded by amazing pieces of history.
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