The Fraumünster Cathedral where historic findings meet contemporary art | Zürich, Switzerland
Updated: Jul 12
The Fraumünster, once an abbey for aristocrat women and today one of the 4 most prominent Cathedrals in Zürich. Here you will find the biggest Organ in the city, windows made by Chagall and some of the oldest Swiss archeological findings expressing immensely rich perspectives of Swiss history as well as the reformation period!
“a building where the walls allow you to experience Zürich history and the stones express messages passed along overtime.”
Located next to the river Limat and across the Münsterbridge from the prominent Grossmünster. The Fraumünster cathedral in romanesque and gothic Style is placed at the foot of Münsterhof, a location which has been of great importance and still is in the city life of Zürich.
Founded in 853 by King Ludwig (a grandson of Karl the Great), he had built the abbey for his daughter and its first use was as an abbey for aristocrat women.
The abbey and its abbess gained quite a bit of political power over the years, especially in 1218 when Emperor Frederik II introduced the “Reichsunmittelbarkeit” to the abbey which gave them territorial independence.
Once Rudolf Brun became the first mayor of Zürich in 1336, he put in place the "Zunkfordnung” known as the guild laws which caused the abbey to gradually loose its political power. It was during the Zürich reformation in 1524, that the abbey dissolved and the following years it underwent drastic changes. Much of this history can be visited in the exhibition in the Crypt.
From its founding up until 1732, the building itself saw many reconstructions. At one point in time it was occupied by the French and others to the Russians before going back to the Swiss. It was only in 1912 that the tower as we can see it was created, when Gustav Gull made a whole renovation of the Cathedral. Today you can feel a strong mix between roman and gothic elements.
Open to the public only since 2016, the crypt found in the Fraumünster is extremely rich regarding Swiss history in general! The Crypt found under the choir dates back to the 9th century when the abbey was formed. It was a place where the relics of holy saints would be placed for people to go to. Since the reformation in 1520 such places were banned and the crypt was long closed and only most recently reopen in 2016.
Today you can explore archeological findings of a wall from the 9th century, see a lot of explications about the history of Zürich and Switzerland and gain a deeper understanding of how the city evolved culturally as well as politically over time and what the reformation period truly meant and how it impacted society as a whole.
Overtime different artists have contributed to the development of the interior including artists such as Augusto Giacometti who created the 9m tall stained glass window or more famously Marc Chagall.
In 1967 the renowned artist Chagall put in place 5 different stained glass windows each expressing a different biblical story. These windows bring in incredible light into the Cathedral and are simply beautiful to observe especially when having in hindsight Chagalls’ past and artistic expressions.
With over 5793 pipes the Organ found in the Fraumünster is the largest organ found in Zürich!
You can visit the church, take guided tours or attend one of the different events and concerts. For more information click here.
10:00 - 18:00 (March 1 – October 31)
10:00 - 17:00 (November 1 – February 28)
Price: CHF 5.-
Address: Fraumünster, Münsterhof 2, Zürich 8001
Tel: +41 44 250 66 44
Visiting the Fraumünster gives you such a vast insight into the history of Zürich as well as Switzerland. Whilst exploring such prominent locations, you can truly learn about the history and culture and gain a deeper understanding of the past!
We are generation change!
Enjoy! Yours truly,
© Isabel Silvia