For centuries, the minster has dominated the town and the region and has become synonymous with Ulm both at home and abroad. This prominence is mainly attributable to its spire, which, at 161.53 meters, is the highest church spire in the world.
Climb the 768 steps to the highest observation platform at 141 meters and you will be rewarded with a magnificent, panoramic view of Ulm in the State of Baden-Württemberg and the Bavarian town of Neu Ulm. On a clear day, you can even see the Alpine range from the “Säntis” to the “Zugspitze”.
The foundation stone was laid on the 30 June 1377. But what moved Ulm to initiate this enormous sacral project that on completion would provide enough space for 20,000 people? The main reason was to provide more safety for churchgoers, as the earlier parish church was situated outside the town walls and during the frequent periods of war at this time, there was a high risk involved in attending church.
Famous master builders of that period were assigned with the task of building the Minster: The Parler and von Ensingen families, Matthäus Böblinger and Burkhard Engelberg pulled out all the stops to create a very imposing building.
The inside of the building also reveals real artistic treasures: the 15th century choir stalls crafted by Jörg Syrlin the elder, the pulpit, the high altar and the stained glass windows by Jörg Syrlin the younger, as well as the “Man of Sorrows” by Hans Multscher in the main entrance.
In 1543 construction came to a stop due to lack of money. It is important to know that the Minster was financed not by the church or worldly rulers, but exclusively by the inhabitants of the town. And if one thinks of when the building was started, then it is almost inconceivable for us today, that the population of Ulm initiated a building project at the end of the 14th century, knowing that they would not live to see its completion.
Building was not re-commenced until the middle of the 19th century. At first the main aisle was stabilised and then both choir steeples completed.
Finally, in 1890, work on the main steeple was finished. 613 years after building began, the Ulm Minster was completed!
Right up the present day, the Minster has been and still is a living church. More than 1,000 church services and other events are held each year.