Friday, April 18, 2014

Kirchen in Zurich

Translated in English, that means, "Churches in Zurich". Well, this post was inspired by the photos and posts I've seen in Facebook since yesterday. I know of friends who practice the tradition of visiting churches during the Lenten season. That reminds me of the three famous churches we visited on our 3rd day in the city of Zurich. If you have been with me in my previous post (click here to view), this is a sequel.

On our 3rd day, after coming out of the Swiss National Museum where we went round and round, lost in the immense historic grandeur of the place, we once again spanned the length of Limmatquai and Bahnhofquai (the streets on both sides of the Limmat River) to Stadthausquai. Within the vicinity we were able to get a closer view of the three famous and major churches for which the city of Zurich is known for.

These are the Fraumunster and St. Peter on the western bank and the Grossmunster at the eastern bank of the Limmat River.

First, the Fraumunster Church (Minster or Church of our Lady). Founded by Louis the German for his daughter, Hildegard, this church was built on the remains of a former abbey for aristocratic women.

Here are our photos with the church at the background.

 Billy (my husband) and me standing at Munsterbrucke

The photos below show a closer view the steeple and the slender blue spire giving the Fraumunster Church a graceful look.
The Fraumunster Church up close
Located at the corner of Munsterhof and Stadthausquai, this church is famous for its Chagall stained-glass windows. Designed by Marc Chagall, the five large stained-glass windows were installed in 1970. Each of the five windows has a dominant color, and depicts Christian stories about Elijah's ascent to heaven (red-orange window), Jacob's combat and dreams of heaven (blue window), various scenes in the life of Christ (green window), an angel in Zion who trumpets the end of the world (yellow window) and the Law where Moses is seen looking down on the suffering of his people (blue window).

We were not able to take photos of the Chagall glass windows inside the sanctuary but I was able to capture three of them from the outside. 
The designs are somehow visible in the photo above. Can you see them? Look at the photo below and see how colorful they really look inside the church.
Chagall stained-glass windows taken from google 
That's my husband, in deep amazement and appreciation of the architectural design of the church.
The columns at the church court
The second church we visited was St. Peter's Church (also known as St. Peterskirche) located at Sankt Peterhofstatt Plaza along Schlusselgasse, adjacent to Lindenhof Hill (site of the former Roman castle), another famous tourist spot in Zurich. St. Peter's Church is the oldest church in Zurich.  

I took this photo while standing at the Munsterbrucke
That's me at Munsterbrucke with the church at the background

The St. Peter Church from behind some barren trees
Surrounded by houses and shops, this church stands so tall with its impressive steeple and spire adorned with the largest clock face in Europe that is visible over the city.
Photo taken from the side of the church along Schlusselgasse
while going uphill heading to the front of the church
In the olden days, the steeple was manned by a night-watch keeping an eye should fire break out in the city. 
 The steeple of St. Peter's Church with its largest wall clock as seen from Schlusselgasse

Europe's largest church wall clock up-close
Billy, my husband in this photo. I was able to capture a  full view of the steeples and spires
of both churches, Fraumunster and St. Peters, at the background. Good shot? 
Now, the third and the last church we visited was the Grossmunster Church.
A view of the Grossmunster from Stadthausquai located at the west bank of Limmat River
Also known as the Great Minster or the Great Church, Grossmunster is an Evangelical Protestant church in the Old Town of Zurich.

Its front door (called portal) and side with the twin towers both face Zwingliplatz which turns left to Grossmunsterplatz. Funny but I just realized this perspective while looking intently at this replica of the church. All the while, I thought the twin towers were on the front part of the church.

I wasn't able to resist taking a picture of this miniature Grossmunster! Isn't it cute? 
A miniature Grossmunster standing at the church's yard


Grossmunster's portal : entrance to the church facing Zwingliplatz
I wasn't successful at getting a perfect timing in taking a picture with the church door closed. There were just a lot of people coming in and out of the church. And my husband kept signalling that it was time to go.

What I found so amazing with this 12th-century Romanesque-style cathedral is its fascinating history of Catholic saints and Protestant preaching. The history tells of a very interesting legend about the three martyr saints (Felix, Regula and Exuperantius) who were said to be burned and beheaded, and who were found by Charlemagne's horse when he stopped over their graves. See the statue in the photo below.


Like the Fraumunster, the Grossmunster is also known for its stained-glass windows created by Sigmar Polke which took three years to finish. See photo below. 

This photo of Polke's stained-glass window was taken from google
I wasn't able to get a photo of the stained-glass window from inside the church but here's one taken from outside. Not a very good shot taken from where I stood as the light reflected on the window but it's enough that you appreciate the beauty of sliced agate, creating brightly luminous walls of stone.






Strolling down Zurich's Old Town, one would never miss this church's twin spires or towers that serve as the city's most famous and recognizable landmarks. 

The towers / spires from below

  The photo above and below were both taken from the Rathausbrucke.

Lastly, here's one more photo I took which perfectly captured all three churches in one shot.
Taken from the Polyterrasse ETH Zurich Zentrum, after taking a short cable car ride via Polybahn. Beautiful view of the city from here!
Well, how did you find today's church hopping? I know I haven't led you into the sanctuaries of each of the three churches. We've seen only the facade. But has any of these churches made a lasting impression upon you? You may write down your thoughts in the comment box below.

Oh, by the way, what are your plans for the long weekend? For Easter Sunday? Would you like to come along again another day? It's a date then!
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Linking to:
Weekend Bloggy Reading

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