A church erected over the graves of the martyrs Cassius and Florentius around 400 B.C. – according to the legend it was founded by the holy Helena – was the basic unit of today’s Münster Basilica, which forms a jewel of sacral architecture with its quiet cloister.
Bonn’s Münster Basilica is one of the most fully-developed creations of the Rhenish transition style from the Romanesque to the Gothic period. It was completed at the time when the foundation stone for the Dome of Cologne was laid in 1248. Its building history reaches far back into the time of the early Christianity at the Rhine. According to the results of excavations underneath the crypt, the origin was a “Cella Memoriae”, which was erected already in the second half of the 3rd century. At the “Cella Memoriae” funeral repasts took place, and it was here where two Christian Roman officers underwent a martyrium, who have been venerated until today as the city patrons Cassius and Florentius.
Around 400 A.C., a small church hall was erected here over the graves, and in the middle of the 11th century it was replaced by a basilica with a length of 70 metres and three naves. Under provost Gerard von Are a reconstruction began in the middle of the 12th century. It was around that time when the cloister, a jewel of sacral architecture and the only well-maintained Romanesque cloister north of the Alps, was built.
The Münster Basilica with its five towers and the powerful crossing tower forms part of Bonn’s silhouette still today.
It experienced two king-crowning ceremonies: Friedrich der Schöne (Friedrich the Beautiful) was crowned in 1314, and Karl IV. was crowned here in 1346. Next to many other works of art it is possible to see the Magdalena altar made of marbled wood, the little wooden figure of the holy Martin, the baptismal font from the 12th century and a sitting Madonna today. The blue and red windows of the apse displaying the city patrons belong to the works of the Rhenish expressionist Heinrich Campendonk.
In 1166, provost Gerhard von Are gave the order to raise the relics from the martyr graves and had them be preserved in precious reliquaries at the high altar. They were destroyed in the Sewer War (1583/84).
Telephone: +49 (0)2 28 / 98 588-0
- Church: 07:00 AM – 19:00 PM daily
- Cloister: 09:00 AM – 17:00 PM daily
Source: Tourismus&Congress GmbH Region Bonn/Rhein-Sieg/Ahrweiler