Freiburg Minster Cathedral
This is the view from the gates. The cathedral is in the background with scaffolding over the dome and you can see the light rail tracks that run throughout the city. There is a water fountain in the direct center with streets splitting to the left and right from the fountain.
We took the street to the right. It is always amazing to me how narrow the streets are and how small the sidewalks are!
Jon and Madelyn could barely walk on the sidewalk side by side with the shops having some of their items out for sale. Luckily, these areas are almost always ‘Pedestrian Only’ with delivery vehicles passing only occasionally.
This was the first town we saw open ditches weaving throughout the city. It was probably 18 inches across and maybe 4 inches deep. The shops had little crossings every couple of stores so you didn’t HAVE to jump or step across the water unless you wanted to (or had a 3 year old.) People had their shoes off and were sitting along the sides, feet dipped in the cool water. One of the shop owners even has a stool out for when they take a break!
We walked on down until we got to the Cathedral. It was kinda hard to miss. There were several other churches in town, but this one, by far, was the most stunning. It was originally built in 1200 in the Romanesque style, like the cathedral in Speyer we visited a few weekends ago. Its design changed styles in 1230 to the Gothic style that was just developing, with the cathedral finally being completed in 1513. To put that in perspective, Columbus didn’t ‘discover America’ until 1492 and Jamestown wasn’t settled until 1607, and the Mayflower didn’t sail until 1620!
We walked around the church to see if we could go inside. We found an entrance that others were coming in and out of and started up the winding stairs. Whenever you get to go upstairs, you know it is going to be cool 🙂 We climbed a lot of steps…there are 145 of them to the ‘first level,’ as I learned, counting them on my way down. I thought this was narrow… each step was probably 12-16 inches deep at its deepest and about 24 inches wide. Going up, I hoped we didn’t meet anyone because it was so tight. We lucked out and only passed one couple.
We got to the ‘top,’ or what we thought was the top and there was a gift shop-type area and a guy collecting the entrance fees. We figured we had made it to the ‘top’ of where we could go and walked around. This was the clock that chimed while we were there. It was large – 5 feet long and 3 feet high, and controlled the bells above us. We got to see it spin and hear the bell above mark the quarter hour.
As we were looking around the store and out the windows, Madelyn wanted to go up these stairs and started to make a scene. Someone else put their tickets in the bucket (that we hadn’t noticed) and proceeded up. So Jon fished out the tickets, Madelyn put them in the bucket and we headed up. These were more narrow than the winding stairs we came up – maybe 20 inches – but a very short walk.
Jon and Madelyn looking down through the windows.
One of the bells from the bell tower at what we thought was the top. The oldest bell is from 1266!! Each bell was named and engraved on the wood bar it hung from. The bell is in the top of the picture. It is kind of like a Magic Eye… hard to see it at first, and then you are like, ‘Oh.. there it is!” 🙂 The wooden square thing with the bars is dangling another bell below it.
Then, we realized there was another level that was the ACTUAL top. These were the VERY narrow steps to get there. They were about 8 inches at the deepest and probably only 18 inches wide. You did NOT want to pass anyone on these steps. We did. It was not fun.
After that, we went down ALL the stairs again and walked to see if we could actually go inside. This is the front entry door.
You know it is powerful when even the 3 year old doesn’t say anything. She let Jon carry her and didn’t talk at all.
There was an actual service taking place while we were there in the very front of the church. The area was roped off, but the rest of the cathedral could be visited. I could have spent hours inside, but we felt we should come back a different time to take pictures. We stayed only in the entryway in awe.
The tallest spire of the church and the one we climbed to the top. This spire is the only Gothic church spire in Germany to be completed in the middle ages that still exists today! It has gone through preservations, but has never had to be rebuilt, even when the town was bombed during WWII! Buildings and houses along the square at the base of the church were damaged or destroyed, but the church spire itself survived. This was also our view while we enjoyed ice cream and dipped our feet in the water.
We have put this on our ‘go back to’ list. There are a lot of other things to see and do in and around the town. We had planned to see the silver mines and take the longest cable car ride to the top of the mountain, but alas, time and the day got away from us. Oh well, guess that means we’ll have to go there again! 🙂