Ulmer Münster (Ulm Minster) is the tallest church in the world, with its Gothic spires dotting the skyline of Ulm for over 600 years.
Ulm Minster Photo Essay
This is not technically a cathedral due to ecclesiastical matters we will not concern ourselves with, but work on this church began in the late Middle Ages, 1377 to be exact, but was paused in 1543 in part due to the Protestant Reformation sweeping through the land we now know as Germany. Construction resumed 300 years later in 1844 and was completed in 1890. Minster simply means a large or important church (the word comes from the Old English “mynster,” meaning “monastery”). The top of the steeple is 161.5 meters (530 feet) above the ground, taller than the pyramids of Giza.
This building survived World War II virtually unscathed, even though much of Ulm was flattened. The minster is full of fascinating artwork of many styles, but what struck me most wast the massive pipe organ. We had arrived around midday where an organ concert had just began (we were not allowed to sit down because of social distancing restrictions). To hear Luther’s Ein Feste Burg booming though the church gave me chills.
The Church is not a building but the people of God, yet this church and so many like it are remarkable testaments of faith and of human ingenuity, both in engineering and the arts.
Fun fact: Napoleon fired cannons from the church’s spires in the early 1800’s.
This is part of my summer in Germany trip report.
Great photos Matthew! I just had a similar photo experience at the Cologne Cathedral in late March.
Seems like you didn’t encounter any maintenance, that seems to be always ongoing.
For a church to be a cathedral is has to be the seat of a bishop/archbishop. Otherwise it is simply a church. For that same reason, St. Peter’s in Rome is not a cathedral, as the bishop’s seat of the Pope (the archbishop of Rome) is St. John Lateran.
Many people will find this fascinating – the Nikolai Kirche in Hamburg, Germany was the tallest building in the world from 1874 to 1876.
@Matthew, are stairs open to climb one of the spires like the Cathedral of Cologne? My son and I climbed the one at Cologne in 2019 – great views at the top but such narrow steps for my size 13 feet.
One more for my bucket list. Thanks for sharing.