Bern Minster, the most important late Gothic church building in Switzerland, together with the new town hall, represents the remarkable awakening of the free city of Bern in the 15th century. The prerequisite for this were the favourable political and economic circumstances, promoted by an upwardly mobile class of merchants who rose to the ranks of the city’s patrician class. At the laying of the foundation stone in 1421, the mighty aspirations associated with the building project were already manifest in terms of size and expense. The city commissioned Matthäus Ensinger, son of the famous Strasbourg and Ulm cathedral master builder. Despite the lengthy construction period, Ensinger’s plans resulted in a church building of great harmony, with superb features including the medieval stained-glass windows, the opulently decorated vaults spanning the period from late Gothic to Renaissance and the Portal of the Last Judgement with its rich array of figures.
Authors: Jürg Schweizer, Bernd Nicolai, Brigitte Kurmann-Schwarz, Roland Gerber, Annette Loeffel, Peter Völkle, Jasmin Christ