Grossmunster Cathedral in Zurich

The two towers of the Grossmunster Cathedral, towering over the houses of Zurich, are the symbol of the city. According to legend, the first Church on this site was founded by Charlemagne in the 8th century, and in the 16th century this Cathedral played an important role in the spread of the Swiss Reformation, initiated by Ulrich Zwingli.

Grossmunster Cathedral was built on the burial site of Christian saints Felix and Regula. They are the Patron Saints of Zurich. Felix and Regula, as well as their servant Exuperantius, were executed in 286, along with Christian soldiers of the Theban Legion, led by Saint Maurice. This execution took place on the banks of the Limmat river, where the Wasserkirche Church now stands. According to legend, their heads were cut off, but they were able to stand up, take them in their hands, and walk 40 steps up the hill. They were buried there.

In the 8th century, King Charlemagne hunted in this area, and according to legend, his horse knelt at the burial site of Saints Regula and Felix. Charlemagne founded a chapel here, and the Cathedral that we see now was founded in 1090 and consecrated in 1220. The Cathedral is built in the Romanesque style.

In 1520, the Christian reformer Ulrich Zwingli began his sermons and discussions on faith in the Cathedral of Grossmunster. As you know, the Swiss reformation under the influence of Zwingli and Calvin developed in parallel with the German one, which was conducted by Martin Luther. As a result, in 1523, the authorities of Zurich announced the withdrawal of their Church from the rule of the Roman Catholic Church.

The interior of the Protestant Church looks very strict. There are no sculptures or other images of saints on the walls. Even the organ was removed. However, the image of Zwingli is on the door, the work of Otto Munch. The Cathedral has stained glass Windows from the 19th century, and in the crypt you can see stained glass from the 15th century. The crypt was built in 1107, under Bishop Gebhard III.

The towers initially had different heights, but in 1487 wooden spires of the same height were built. In 1781, there was a fire. After stone towers were built in the neo-Gothic style with a height of 64 meters. They have preserved to this day. The Western tower, called the Karl Tower, can be climbed to see the old city of Zurich.