The Fraumünster Church is an acting Catholic church in Zürich that is notable for its centuries-long history. Moreover, the church is attractable by its glass paintings made by the well-known Russian artist Marc Chagall. His audacious compositions contributed a spirit of modernity to the old ensemble of the temple.
History of the Fraumünster Church Origin
During the rule of Ludwig “the German” (805 – 876), young ladies from great families often chose the nuns path in life. It was a real honor to enter a monastery, as not every aristocrat could join the ranks of postulants, so what to say about the girls of lowborn blood.
An elder daughter of Ludwig, Hildegard, was filled with admiration for the bravery of nuns since her childhood. She asked her father to build an abbey on the shores of the Limmat to create a nunnery for a larger number of novitiates. In 853, the monastery was built. Ludwig granted it with the vast lands and integrity.
Soon, the younger daughter of the king, Bertha, became an abbess of the Fraumünster. The monastery had significant weight in the city. The abbess had become the head of Zürich, she had a right to manage the economy and appoint a mayor of the city.
However, with the rise of the Reformation, an influence of the monastery had decreased. At that time, Ulrich Zwingli, a fervent Protestant, became a notable figure in Zürich. Rudolf Brun was the first independent mayor of the city, and the democratic changes had become irreversible. In 1524, the church was nullified in the course of the Zwingli reform.
Reconstruction of the Fraumünster
This landmark in Switzerland was reconstructed several times. During one reconstruction work (1847), the archeologist Ferdinand Keller found a unique wall painting that was painted over in the times of the Reformation epoch, which denied any adornments in churches.
The artist Franz Hegi was entrusted to make a watercolor copy of the mural. By the 1912 year, the watercolor painting dwindled with time, but it was restored by the efforts of the Protestant community of the Fraumünster church. Starting from 2006, this mural decorates the wall in the church. It reflects a history of the Fraumünster creation.
Glass Paintings of Augusto Giacometti and Marc Chagall
In the 20th century, the architects and artists of different nationalities worked on the church appearance, however, the Fraumünster is considered one of the main landmarks of Zürich. The glass paintings were made by the Swiss painter Augusto Giacometti. He designed the stained glass compositions in the Grossmünster as well. A well-known artist of the Russian origin, Marc Chagall, worked together with the painter. Each painting has the height of more than ten meters and the width of one meter.
Today, the spiritual-cultural life acts within the walls of the Fraumünster church. Despite the parish is the smallest in Zürich, a large number of people comes to the church on Sundays. The parish association (more than 1100 members) arranges the cultural events, restoration works in the church, organizes pilgrim’s journeys around Switzerland and abroad.
Information for Tourists
Address of the Fraumünster Church: Münsterhof 2, Zürich.
Opening Hours: every day.
- From November 1 to February 29 – from 10 am to 5 pm;
- From March 1 to October 31 – from 10 am to 6 pm;
- On Sundays and Holidays, the church is open until midday after church service.
In the church, it is prohibited: the usage of camera, mobile phones, and any kind of computers; to make a photo- or video recording, to take food and drinks.
Excursion for tourists: 5 CHF.
One more church in Zürich that is located on another bank of the Limmat river is Predigerkirche, a church with a long and complicated history.
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