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Freiburg Minster

Freiburg Münster
The Cathedral of Our Lady
Freiburger Münster
Freiburg Münster
Location Freiburg im Breisgau
Country Germany
Denomination Roman Catholic
Website Website of the Cathedral
Founded 1200
Founder(s) Berthold V, Duke of Zähringen
Status Active
Functional status Cathedral
Archdiocese Archdiocese of Freiburg

Freiburg Minster (German: Freiburger Münster or Münster Unserer Lieben Frau) is the cathedral of Freiburg im Breisgau, southwest Germany. The last duke of Zähringen had started the building around 1200 in romanesque style, the construction continued in 1230 in Gothic style. The minster was partly built on the foundations of an original church that had been there from the beginning of Freiburg in 1120.

In the Middle Ages, Freiburg lay in the Diocese of Konstanz. In 1827 the Freiburg Minster became the seat of the newly erected Catholic Archdiocese of Freiburg and thus a cathedral.


  • Architecture 1
  • Interior 2
  • Bells 3
  • Burials 4
  • The Legal Situation 5
  • Conservation 6
  • See also 7
  • External links 8
  • References 9


Waterspouts and other statuary of Freiburg Minster

The Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt once said that the church's 116-meter tower will forever remain the most beautiful spire on earth.[1] His remark gave rise to the frequently heard misquote of the most beautiful tower in the whole of Christianity.

The tower is nearly square at the base, and at its centre is the dodecagonal star gallery. Above this gallery, the tower is octagonal and tapered, and above this, is the spire.

It is the only Gothic church tower in Germany that was completed in the Middle Ages (1330), and miraculously, has lasted until the present, surviving the bombing raids of November 1944, which destroyed all of the houses on the west and north side of the market. The tower was subject to severe vibration at the time, and its survival of these vibrations is attributed to its lead anchors, which connect the sections of the spire. The windows had been taken out of the spire at the time by church staff led by Monsignor Max Fauler, and so these also suffered no damage.

Freiburg Minster was not the seat of a bishop until 1827, long after it was built.

The tower has 16 bells, the oldest being the "Hosanna" bell from 1258, which weighs 3,290 kilograms. This bell can be heard on Thursday evening after the Angelus, on Friday at 11:00 am (a time consequently known as "Spätzleglocke"), on Saturday evenings, and each year on 27 November in remembrance of the air raid.


Window of Freiburg Minster
Freiburg Miner, stained glass, circa 1330

There are two important altars inside the cathedral: the high altar of Hans Baldung, and another altar of Hans Holbein the Younger in a side chapel.

The nave windows were donated by the guilds, and the symbols of the guilds are featured on them. The deep red color in some of the windows is not the result of a dye, but instead the result of a suspension of solid gold nanoparticles.[2]

In 2003, the Lenten cloth was restored and backed with a supporting material. It now weighs over a ton, and so must be carried from the workshop with heavy machinery for its use during Lent.


The cathedral holds 19 bells, altogether 25 tonnes, making it one of the largest peals in Germany.

Nr. name year cast caster's name, cast at diameter measures chime
1 Christus 1959 Friedrich Wilhelm Schilling,
2133 mm 6856 kg g0
2 Petrus 1774 mm 3917 kg b0
3 Paulus 1566 mm 2644 kg c1
4 Maria 1490 mm 2290 kg d1
5 Hosanna 1258 anonym 1610 mm 3290 kg es1
6 Josef 1959 Friedrich Wilhelm Schilling,
1242 mm 1354 kg f1
7 Nikolaus 1095 mm 958 kg g1
8 Johannes 1081 mm 913 kg a1
9 Jakobus 1022 mm 803 kg b1
10 Konrad 903 mm 560 kg c2
11 Bernhard 798 mm 381 kg d2
12 Lambert und Alexander 670 mm 212 kg f2
13 Michael 594 mm 149 kg g2
14 Schutzengel 575 mm 150 kg a2
15 Odilia 505 mm 112 kg c3
16 Magnificat 456 mm 79 kg d3
17 Vesperglöckchen 1606 Hans Ulrich Bintzlin, Breisach 510 mm 70 kg h2
18 Silberglöckchen 13. Jh. anonym 352 mm 33 kg f3
19 Taufglocke 13./14. Jh. anonym 550 mm 95 kg a2


The Legal Situation

From the time of its construction, the cathedral was not owned by the Roman Catholic Church but by the people of Freiburg. In the Middle Ages, the situation changed so that the building was self-owned, and administered by a guardian appointed by the people of the city. More recently, the Münsterbauverein association was created, which now legally owns the cathedral.


Looking up into the belfry of Freiburg Minster

For the conservation of the cathedral, the Freiburger Münsterbauverein ("Freiburg Minster-Upkeep Association") was established. The association invests several million euros each year in the care and maintenance of the building and its interior. The present architect in charge is Yvonne Faller and the chair of the association is Sven von Ungern-Sternberg.

See also

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons This article is based on a translation of the German WorldHeritage article Freiburger Münster.

  • (German) Cathedral windows


  1. ^ Der schönste Turm auf Erden, Badische Zeitung, Seite 17, 10. März 2005
  2. ^ Nanoparticles - Minute Particles with a Huge Effect

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