Basel Minster, an important landmark of the city, is one of Basel’s main sights. With its characteristic red sandstone design, the colorful roof tiles and the two slender church towers, it impressively shapes the cityscape. The former bishop’s church, now the Protestant Reformed Church, was built between 1019 and 1500 in Romanesque and Gothic styles.
Münsterplatz, named after the imposing church, stretches out in front of Basel Minster. The square is lined with historic canons’ houses, which tell a rich history and characterize the ambience of the square. Münsterplatz invites visitors to immerse themselves in the fascinating history of the cathedral and the City of Basel and enjoy the unique atmosphere.
Basel Minster both Romanesque and Gothic
The cathedral harmoniously combines two different architectural styles: Romanesque and Gothic. After it was severely damaged by the devastating earthquake of 1356, it was rebuilt in accordance with Gothic building rules, although the lower part was still built in the Romanesque style.
The light-colored sandstone blocks from the time before the earthquake have been preserved as clear traces of this reconstruction and contrast sharply with the predominantly pink sandstone.
Of the original five towers, only two have been rebuilt: St. George’s Tower and St. Martin’s Tower, which at first glance appear to be the same height. In fact, the first tower is two meters taller than its neighbor. You can see for yourself by climbing the 250 steps and enjoy a breathtaking view of the city on the Rhine from the top.
Basel Minster with the best view of the city and surrounding area
Visitors can climb 250 steps, either to the Georgsturm or the Martinsturm of Basel Cathedral, to enjoy a spectacular view of the city of Basel and its surroundings.
The cathedral’s great predecessor in the 12th century still had five towers, three of which collapsed in the Basel earthquake on October 18, 1356. Only the two façade towers were rebuilt: the Georgsturm on the left (1428) and the Martinsturm on the right (1500). The Georgsturm is 67.30 meters high and the Martinsturm measures 65.50 meters.
The red color of the cathedral is striking and can be seen from afar. The building was constructed from red sandstone, which comes from the Degerfelden and Wiesental region on the German side of the Rhine. Both the exterior façade and the interior combine late Romanesque and Gothic elements. While the façade has a Gothic appearance, the late Romanesque influence can be seen in the transept, choir and interior.
In the Middle Ages, Basel Minster served as the episcopal church of the diocese of Basel and was dedicated to St. Mary and the Ottonian Emperor Henry II. Since the Reformation in 1529, it has been the main church of the Protestant Reformed Church of Basel-Stadt.
Guided tours of Basel Minster
A guided tour of Basel Minster is like an exciting journey through the centuries. There are different types of guided tours, which either focus on the history of the building and the church (classic tours) or allow you to experience the space as a whole (cathedral nights, tower climb during Advent).
The classic guided tours focus on information about the history of the building and the church. Visitors learn interesting details about the architectural styles, the various construction phases and the artistic elements of the cathedral.
During the cathedral nights, the cathedral space is experienced in a special way. Atmospheric lighting and musical accompaniment create a unique atmosphere that transports visitors back in time. The focus here is on the sensory experience of the space.
For those who would like to enjoy a breathtaking view, the tower climb during Advent is a great option. On the way to the top, visitors are rewarded with impressive views of the city and can experience the special atmosphere of the Christmas season high above the rooftops of Basel.
There is also a short guided tour every Saturday at 2 to 2.30 pm, where visitors learn surprising anecdotes from the history of Basel Cathedral.
No matter which type of guided tour you choose, a voyage of discovery through Basel Cathedral offers a fascinating opportunity to experience the history and the space in a very personal way.
More information about the guided tours at: Münster tour
Video 360° view of Basel Minster – interior view
Video Basel (Switzerland)  | EPIC drone in 4K
Video My Basel – Cinematic FPV
This summer, we captured Basel from an extraordinary perspective, using an FPV drone to fly between bridges, soar over church spires and swoop down towers. The technology of the FPV drone enables breathtaking shots and takes you on a journey through the skies of this dream city.