Saturday, 17 June 2017

Basel Münster

We did several walking tours of Basel, alternating with days out on the train. Over the course of the trip it became apparent that Basel isn't that large, at least not the touristy area. 

This replica is wonderful in itself to see, but consider that a blind person could
touch it and experience the beauty of this building.

Eventually we were covering old ground, but with a different loop added here or there. Never mind, I found loads to love.

Chris is fascinated by churches and cathedrals. Jane often remarks that he disappears into any he can and she never knows when he'll emerge. I've no idea why this is, I wouldn't have said he was particularly religious, but they grab him for some reason. 

I'm lukewarm on them myself, though they can sometimes draw me. I don't deny that churches are for many a place for seeking spiritual commune, but for me they also represent temporal power and control. I think that my travels in Europe have highlighted this aspect for me and I feel the principle applies elsewhere in the world. Still, I do love architecture and this building was very 'romantic' and 'gothic' (terms from Wikipedia's description, link below).

We didn't really go into the church, just into the 'open bits'; the actual name for this is a cloister. Even though there were plenty of tourists around it still had a very serene atmosphere.

I briefly looked at the history of this impressive building:built in 1019; destroyed by earthquake in 1356, rebuilt by 1500 in Romanesque and Gothic style; originally a Catholic church, now a Reformed Protestant church. More about the history of Basel's Minster on Wonderful Wikipedia.

Curious about the name 'Reformed Protestant' I did a tiny bit of digging. It turns out that 'reformation' doesn't only apply to English King Henry VIII's drive for a male heir. 

I hadn't appreciated that Martin Luther lived at the same time and of course he also rebelled against the Catholic church, but for very different reasons. If you're interested in this sort of thing you can read more about those two men at this link. The contrast between them is somehow eloquent.

As a younger person I naively thought of religion and history as separate subjects, but of course that is ridiculous; the two are completely intertwined. Come to think of it, this hasn't changed, has it? It's not just history, it's current affairs.  

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