Sometimes called the Gross Monster by English-speaking locals, Grossmunster is a Romanesque-style Protestant church in Zurich. According to legend, Charlemagne discovered the graves of the city’s patron saints, Felix and Regula, and ordered a church to be constructed on the spot. Construction of Grossmunster began in 1100 and was finished around 1220, with the core of the building built on the site where Charlemagne’s church stood. The only original decorations that remain today are some faded frescoes in a side chapel and a depictions of battle scenes and Charlemagne’s discovery of Felix’s and Regula’s graves. The church’s crypt is the largest in Switzerland and dates to the 11th and 13th centuries. Modern stained glass windows were added to the church in 1932 and bronze doors were added in 1935 and 1950.
Also known as the starting point of the Reformation in Switzerland in the 16th century, Grossmunster’s twin towers make it one of the most recognized landmarks in Zurich. Visitors can climb the nearly 200 stairs up the north tower for sweeping views of the city. The cloister features a museum about the Reformation and the annex to the cloister is home to the theological school of the University of Zurich.
Grossmunster is located in Zurich’s Old Town and is best reached on foot or by taking the tram to the Helmhaus tram stop.