Basilica of St. Ursula

Cologne, Germany

The Basilica church of St. Ursula was is built upon the ancient ruins of a Roman cemetery. The church has an impressive reliquary created from the bones of the former occupants of the cemetery. It is one of the twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne and was designated a Minor Basilica in 1920. While the nave and crossing tower are Romanesque, the choir has been rebuilt in the Gothic style.

The Golden Chamber, or Goldene Kammer, of the church contains the alleged remains of St. Ursula and her 11,000 virgins who are said to have been killed by the Huns, possibly around the time of the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains. The original legend said only 11 virgins accompanied St. Ursula but the number grew over time, eventually to 11,000. The walls of the Golden Chamber are covered in bones arranged in designs and/or letters along with relic skulls. The exact number of people whose remains are in the Golden Chamber remains ambiguous but the number of skulls in the reliquary is greater than 11 and less than 11,000. These remains were found in 1106 in a mass grave and were assumed to be those of the legend of St. Ursula and the 11,000 virgins. Therefore, the church constructed the Golden Chamber to house the bones. The bones themselves are neatly arranged in 'zigzags and swirls and even in the shapes of Latin words.'

References:

Comments

Your name


Mary said 9 months ago
When are Saturday and Sunday Masses held?


Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Salian Dynasty (Germany)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Robert Simpson (11 months ago)
Ask to see the bone room. Very interesting. Great mythology. The story of how she and the 11/1100/11000 maidens saved Cologne from Attila. Her tears are on the city crest.
Jay H (14 months ago)
What a boney business! Really interesting, a bit chilling, but an altogether quite enjoyable experience! (Admission cost: 2€; the actual "boney stuff" is on the right hand side after you enter the church)
macedonboy (2 years ago)
The Basilica church of St. Ursula is a minor basilica and one that's associated with the legend of St. Ursula and the 11,000 martyred virgins. The church is supposedly built on the burial grounds of these legendary ladies. The church also has a chamber with a reliquary said to be the bones of some of these martyrs. The church is an attractive Romanesque style building with some interesting contemporary stained glass windows. The balconies over the nave have pretty Romana arches and interestingly, statues underneath each arch. The church is located in north west of Central Cologne and off the main tourist circuit. Worth a visit if you have the time. If you spot the church from afar, be sure to look up at the church spire topped with a crown.
cottongrass (2 years ago)
Amazing collection of bones. The Church itself is lovely but not outstanding. The physical remains of ursula and her virgin friends is astonishing. We had to ask to see it and a woman unlocked the room for us. Its extraordinary. The human bones are arranged like a mosaic on the wall and the faces of the saints show the characters of real people. Well worth a visit.
Staci Monroe (2 years ago)
The history in Köln amazes me and St Ursula is one of the most unique places we went to while living in Köln. I wish they had more visiting hours for the bone room as we returned 5 times and only saw the room opened to guests once. It is for sure, worth going to. Sad history of the room, but amazing to see. Go here, you won’t regret it.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Roman Walls of Lugo

Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.

Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.

The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.

Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.

Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.

The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.