Freiburg Minster - one of the most beautiful church towers of the world
Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History
[ source: Wikipedia]
Construction of the Freiburg Minster began in 1200, funded in part by the wealth generated by the local silver industry. The minster was located on the site of an earlier church dating from 1120. Inspired by the Basel Minster (Switzerland), the earliest elements of the Freiburg Minster are Romanesque in form. However, within 30 years, the stylistic direction of the minster shifted, in favor of the now popular Gothic style. Specifically, the Strasbourg Minster was the model for the post-1230 parts of the Freiburg Minster. The church was built in locally available sandstone. The softness of the stone and the resultant erosion has required significant restoration efforts over the years.
In 1827, the Freiburg Minster was transformed into a cathedral, when it became the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Freiburg. The church survived the World War II bombing raids of Freiburg in 1944, as did, remarkably, the famous church tower. The church tower measures 116 meters in height, and was famously labeled by Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt as "the most beautiful spire on earth." Starting as a square at its base, the tower takes on an octagonal shape above the gallery level. The Freiburg Minster tower is significant as the only Gothic church tower in Germany to be completed during the Middle Ages (1330). The tower contains 16 bells, the oldest of which was cast in 1258.
The interior features of the minster are also noteworthy. The stained glass windows were funded by the city guilds and incorporate various symbols related to the relevant guilds. Also, the minster contains two altars, one of which was created by the renowned artist Hans Holbein the Younger.
Besides its architectural significance, the Freiburg Minster is home to a famed boys' choir. As early as the 13th century, there is evidence that the minster had a Latin school attached to it, which played a role in the cathedral's music culture. Further evidence of the minster's active choral life is borne out by its polyphonic boys' choir music dating from the 16th century. Today, the Freiburg Cathedral Choir School has over 600 members and is a prominent training center for choral and church music in Germany.
[ source: wikipedia.org ]
About this Article
This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.
Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).
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