The Minster high up over the Rhine
Between the Black Forest and the Vosges, high up over the Rhine, the St. Stephansmunster reaches up over Breisach. Standing on a volcanic outcrop that has been settled for over 4000 years, its choir faces out towards the rising sun. The crypt, lying under the choir and open to the world through seven arches, possesses a special magnetism. The low room, its vaulted roof resting on a central pillar, emits an atmosphere of peace and safety. The pillar is decorated with an impressive Christ figure, from a crucifix that used to stand outside the west gate and was destroyed in the Second World War. In 1978 the crypt was dedicated as a memorial, a reminder of the almost total destruction of the town in 1945. Inside the minster there are many treasures to admire. Of particular note are the frescos, especially Martin Schongauer’s “Weltgericht”. The artist, from Colmar, worked here whilst spending the last years of his life in Breisach. The altar, produced by master craftsman “H L” (Hans Loi), is one of the most important masterpieces of German carving.