Anyone old enough to remember the television program from the 1960s called the Munsters? OK, maybe you’ve only seen reruns — but you know it wasn’t about Germany’s Münsters. Right?
A Münster in Germany isn’t a Frankenstein dad and his family, it’s a church of great importance; and you might know it by its English name, a Minster.
I have an amazing list of grand Minsters in Germany for you, starting at the Heilig-Kreuz-Münster in Schwäbisch Gmünd. The detail put into its Gothic vault ceiling is extraordinary, but the stained glass in the Sebalduskapelle is what really grabbed my attention.
The glass window in the choir section of the Münster Zur Schönen Unserer Lieben Frau (the Beautiful Cathedral of Our Lady) in Ingolstadt is also worth seeing. But don’t leave before seeing its 16th century painting of Jesus & Mary.
One of Germany’s most incredible Minsters is in Ulm. It can boast it’s the tallest church tower in the world (161.53 meters), so you know the view from the top is enough to render you speechless.
You’ll have to see the tower at Freiburger Münster (in Freiburg) from the bottom, making its 116-meter height seem even higher. Firmly on the ground at this church are 10 chapels to see.
Bonn made it on my list of the greatest German Minsters, built over a site holy to the Romans (and thought to be a necropolis — a Roman cemetery). Today it’s the city’s landmark — and has Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque architecture.
It’s Gothic architecture and art the Minster in Heilbronn. You might know it as a former Abbey, but this 12th century Minster is most known as the final resting place of some Hohenzollerns.
Konstanzer Münster is quite old (the first church appeared around 600 A.D.), and one of the largest Romanesque churches in this part of Germany — built in 1089.
Landshut‘s got a title too. The tower of its Münster St. Martin is the highest made of brick on the planet at 130.6 meters. I like how its high altar is framed by huge arched windows.
Oh, we got another title going on! The choir stalls at the Münsterkirche St. Alexandri in Einbeck are the oldest in Germany, dating to 1288. Look up to see its brass Gothic chandelier.
The first church of Münster Unserer Lieben Frau, or Cathedral of Our Lady, appeared around 810 in Lindau (Bodensee); and now it sports an Baroque appearance after a fire ripped through it in 1728. Wait until you see its frescoes and Rococo stucco artwork…
The oldest part of the Sts. Cosmas & Damien Münster is its Catholic Cross Pillar — but I know everyone comes to see its Golden Madonna, which thankfully survived an aerial assault in March 1943.
You’re going to have to take a guided tour to see the restored cloister at the Münster St. Zeno in Bad Reichenhall. You’ll learn all about its 9th century beginnings, its marble 16th century pulpit, and its fantastic looking Tympanum.
Over at the Salemer Münster (in Salem), that used to be an Imperial Abbey, has a combination of Gothic, Baroque, Rococo, and Classicism architecture. What do you expect, it’s been here since 1137.
It wouldn’t be fair to leave the Altmünster in Mainz off my list of outstanding Minsters in Germany. It started as a Benedictine Abbey, then a Cistercian one, and eventually becoming a pilgrimage church.
If you’ve got time to only see one more Minster, make it the Herforder Münster in Herford. Outside you’ll see not only its stained glass windows, but 7 gold-plated suns. On the inside, you’ll get another look at its gorgeous glass windows, but it’s 18th century Swallows Nest organ.
The correct definition of Germany’s Minsters (or Münster) might be churches of great importance, but who knew they would be so stunningly fantastic — and not TV Munster in site. ;-)