8001 Zurich, Switzerland
044 252 59 49
NileGuide Expert tip:
For a few francs, you can climb the 187 stairs to the top of one of Grossmünster's salt-and-pepper-shaker towers. Be careful of the narrow staircase. One tourist fell, broken his leg, and then had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital by Rega Rescue Helicopter.
Grossmünster, literally "Big Cathedral", had a big role in Zurich's history and local lore. It is said that Charlemagne himself picked the spot for Grossmünster's foundations, the same legendary burial site of Zurich's patron saints Felix and Regula. As the seat of reformer Ulrich Zwingli's power, the church was a focal point for the Swiss German reformation that started in 1520. As a tribute to the deceased Zwingli, who died in battle in 1531 during the Kappel War, his successor Heinrich Bullinger removed much of the church's opulent interior, so that today austere Grossmünster starkly contrasts with the great Catholic churches of Europe. Like Fraumünster and its famed windows, Grossmünster now sports windows designed by 20th century artists Sigmar Polke and Augusto Giacometti. Grossmünster has summer and winter opening hours: March 1st to October 31st, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM; November 1st to February 28th, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Closed during religious services.