Zürich, Switzerland

The Wasserkirche ('Water Church') of Zürich was first mentioned around 1250. It seems likely that the original building was used for cult meetings. The meetings were centred on a stone now located in the crypt of the church. According to medieval tradition, the site was used for the execution of Saints Felix and Regula. The church was built in the 10th century and modified at various points, culminating in a complete reconstruction that was completed in 1486.

During the course of the Reformation, the Wasserkirche was identified as a place of idolatry. Eventually it was secularised, becoming the first public library of Zürich in 1634, when it became a seat of learning that greatly contributed to the foundation of University of Zürich in the 19th century. The island was connected with the right bank of the Limmat in 1839 with the construction of the Limmatquai. The library was merged into the Zentralbibliothek in 1917, and the church was used as a storage room for crops for some time, until reconstruction work and archaeological excavations were undertaken in 1940. Following this the building was again used for services by the Evangelical-Reformed State Church of the Canton of Zürich.

The Helmhaus is an extension of the church to the north, first mentioned in 1253 as a court of criminal justice, at which time it was a simple wooden structure covering the eastern end of the bridge. It was extended to a larger wooden structure in 1563, and replaced with a stonework hall in 1791.



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Founded: 1486
Category: Religious sites in Switzerland

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User Reviews

pixxudio by Hakken Superst4r (3 years ago)
Good place to work, in way u rent the church for office :) as contexta did so
Ognian Dimitrov (4 years ago)
This is the oldest church in Zurich. It is not very large and is currently used for a variety of events. Next to the river, hence its name.
Esadur (4 years ago)
The ancient heart of this city. Much more interesting than the church is the holy pagan stone in the crypt underneath. You can visit it. It's a ritual site from when Switzerland was not christian or even celtic yet. Back when our forebears had no god and worhsipped the river, spirits and nature in general. I can recommend Kurt Derungs books on Zürich, if you are interested in this.
Su H Switzerland (5 years ago)
Nice place to visit and to learn a lot about Zurich history. I didn't see it but I was told that there is very old water spring underneath the building. Long ago building was kind of harbour part
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