ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Visiting Europe

Highest Church Steeple in the World: The Ulm Minster

Updated on May 28, 2015

Have you ever wondered which church actually has the tallest church steeple in the world?

Well, by now you already know the answer: its the Ulm Minster. I have been living in Ulm and could see this impressive building every day. I can say that it's definitely worth a visit! But before you hopefully come and check it out for yourself, you will learn some interesting and useful stuff about it below.

Entry and main steeple of the Ulm Minster
Entry and main steeple of the Ulm Minster | Source
Entry to the steps up the main tower
Entry to the steps up the main tower | Source

Height of the Church Steeple

Main Tower

With its 530 feet in height, the Ulm Minster actually has the tallest church steeple in the world. This record height was reached in 1890 and no other church building has surpassed this height since. Many people, even some of my friends living around Ulm, don't know this fact. This is probably because the Ulm Minster is not so famous and well known as the Cologne Cathedral, wich is also impressively high. However, with "only" 516 feet in height, it places second in Europe and third in the World for tallest church tower. The Ulm Minster takes the first place.

Choir Towers

Additional to the main tower, there are also two smaller steeples located at the other end of the building. They are called the choir towers because they are above the churches choir. Those two towers are both 282 feet high. While they are considerably smaller than the main tower, they still rank within the list of the highest church towers in the world.

Areal view of the Ulm Minster with its main tower and two choir towers
Areal view of the Ulm Minster with its main tower and two choir towers | Source

Location of the Ulm Minster

A markerUlm Minster -
Münsterplatz, 89073 Ulm, Deutschland
get directions

The Ulm Minster is located in the middle of South Germany, between the two larger cities Munich and Stuttgart

Ulm Minster or Ulm Cathedral?

Many people refer to the Ulm Minster as the Ulm Cathedral. However, a church can olny be called a cathedral if it has been the seat of a bishop. This was never the case in Ulm. So correctly speaking it is not a cathedral but a minster. Minster simply refers to "any large or important church".

Construction of the Church and Steeple

The church was built in two stages. From the laying of the foundation stone in 1377, it took a whole 513 years (!!!) before the church was finished and reached its present height in 1890. Since then, it has been the tallest church steeple in the world.

First Construction Phase 1377 - 1553

Before 1377, there was an old church located outside the city walls of Ulm, basically on “open field”. This church did not belong to Ulm but to the monastery Reichenau at Lake Constanze. This meant that all the donations were flowing directly to the monastery and did not stay in Ulm. This and the fact that the church was not inside the city led the people of Ulm to make plans for building their own church.

In June of 1377, the foundation stone was laid. The people decided on the highest place in the middle of the city, which was close to the market and the city hall. The construction was funded by the people of Ulm themselves and by the government of Ulm.

The idea to build the highest church steeple within the Christian world came early during the construction phase from one of the master builders named “Ulrich von Ensingen”. He took over as a master builder in 1392 and dreamed of more than 150m (492ft) high steeple. Before him the idea was to build three steeples of equal height. His new construction plans were good. However, he did not succeed with his plan during his lifetime.

During a later phase of the construction, the already built heavy stone structure got cracks and two large stones got loose and fell on the ground. The building was in danger of collapsing. A later master builder then stabilized the structure where necessary and left a solid building. This ended the first construction phase and the church remained in this state for more than three centuries.

Second Construction Phase 1844 – 1890

During a later period of wealth it was decided to continue building the Ulm Minster. Based on the old medieval plans, the main tower was finished in a relatively short time from 1844 to 1890 to the point where you can still see it today.

World War II

Fortunately enough, the Ulm Minster was only slightly damaged during World War II and the bombing of Ulm. This was probably due to a lot of luck, because most of the sourrounding buildings have been severly damaged during the bombing. Therefore the Ulm Minster can still be seen in its original form and substance today.

Today

It takes a tremendous effort to preserve the building, which is a never ending task and costs several hundred thousand dollars each year. So when you visit the church, you will always see some construction going on in some parts of the church.

Another areal view of the Ulm Minster
Another areal view of the Ulm Minster | Source

Church Panorama Platform

If you happen to be in Ulm, you can’t miss the church because it constitutes the heart of Ulm. However, I have to say one word of warning: if you are standing on the large open area before the Ulm Minster and you have a standard camera or smartphone camera, you will have trouble taking a picture of the whole church tower as it is just too tall. But for a small fee of 5 EUR for adults you can take the 768 increasingly narrow and steep steps up the church tower to a platform 470 feet high. Expect a strong wind and on many days during the fall and winter unfortunately foggy weather up there. On a bright day however, you will have a wonderful view over the whole city and you might even see the snow-capped mountains of the Alps. The steps are worth the view so use the opportunity and bring your camera!

Facts and Figures About the Ulm Minster

Characteristic
Data
Height main steeple
530ft (161.5m)
Height 2 chorus steeples
282ft (86m)
Height panorama platform
469ft (143m)
Steps to panorama platform
768
Church length
405ft (123.6m)
Church width
160ft (48.8m)
Start of construction
1377
First construction phase
1377 - 1543
Second construction phase
1844 - 1890
Admission panorama platform
5 EUR (approx. 5.70 USD)
Opening hours platform
9:00 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. (or longer)
Admission church
free
Opening hours church
9:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. (or longer)

Be aware that the opening hours of the church and also of the panorama platform vary depending on the month of the year. Because of the sunlight available, the admission times are longer in the summer. So before you go, check the official website of the Ulm Minster for most up-to-date information. Unfortunately this website is only available in German, but the admission times are shown on the main page and you will be able to read those. In the column "Kirche" the admission times for the church are shown, while in the column "Turmbesteigung" the entry times to the panorama platform are shown.

Especially during the winter, the top of the church steeple is covered in clouds
Especially during the winter, the top of the church steeple is covered in clouds | Source
Fresco inside the Ulm Minster
Fresco inside the Ulm Minster | Source
Inside view of the church
Inside view of the church | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • lidialbuquerque profile image

      lidialbuquerque 3 years ago

      Você fala português Markus! Muito legal!! :)

    • MarkyMark82 profile image
      Author

      Markus 3 years ago from Switzerland

      Oi Lidi! Tudo bem? Muito obrigado para seu comentário :) Markus

    • lidialbuquerque profile image

      lidialbuquerque 3 years ago

      stunning place! Hopefully I'll visit it one day!

    • MarkyMark82 profile image
      Author

      Markus 3 years ago from Switzerland

      Hey thanks for your comment and thanks for sharing! I really liked your article about Lisbon, that is why I followed you :)

    • Global-Chica profile image

      Anna 3 years ago from New York, NY

      I had no idea which church has the highest steeple but am really glad to have come across your article to give me the answer. This cathedral has a fascinating history and you've captured it really well. Your pics are great too. I'm sharing this! :)

    • MarkyMark82 profile image
      Author

      Markus 3 years ago from Switzerland

      Hi Chris. Thanks for your comment! I also enjoyed reading some of your travel hubs. See you around, Markus

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

      Markus, welcome to HubPages. Great photos and historical information about this historic building. I enjoyed your firsthand descriptions and the chart with all the dimensions of the church building.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)