Of the many religious sites that distinguish the Zurich skyline and cultural history, the elegant sweep of the spire atop the Fraumünster (Church of Our Lady) is one of the most striking. The grounds beneath it are among the most beautiful and representative sites in the city, with roots that stretch back to the 9th century and artistic flourishes attributable to one of the pioneers of early modernism.
The aforementioned spire was added to the iconic Gothic structure in the early 18th century. The site was originally home to a famous and influential abbey built in 853 by Louis the German for his daughter Hildegard, the administrators of which would rise to unrivaled prominence in Zurich and the surrounding countryside until their dissolution during the reformation in the 1500s.
Still a functioning parish church, the Fraumünster features five enormous stained glass windows designed by the famous Russian-born artist Marc Chagall. Installed in 1970, the panels depict notable biblical scenes including Elijah’s alleged ascent to heaven, an angel atop Mt. Zion, and Moses observing his flock. The lovely ruby and amethyst light cast by the tinted panes make the choir of the abbey an excellent place for quiet contemplation, allowing visitors to absorb the splendors of Gothic, Romanesque, and modernist architecture and art simultaneously.
Though somewhat less significant (if not less striking), a beautiful painted window in the north transept was executed and installed by Augusto Giacometti in 1930.
The Fraumünster is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.