Ulm's Münster is the largest evangelical church in Germany, but its true claim to fame is its church tower, the world's highest. It stands over the huddled medieval gables of Old Ulm, visible long before you hit the ugly suburbs encroaching on the Swabian countryside. The single, filigree tower challenges the physically fit to plod 536 feet up the 768 steps of a giddily twisting spiral stone staircase to a spectacular observation point below the spire. On clear days the steeple will reward you with views of the Swiss and Bavarian Alps, 160 km (100 miles) to the south. The Münster was begun in the late-Gothic age (1377) and took five centuries to build, with completion in the neo-Gothic years of the late 19th century. It contains some notable treasures, including late-Gothic choir stalls and a Renaissance altar. Ulm itself was heavily bombed during World War II, but Allied forces avoided the tower, using it instead as a navigational aid. The mighty organ can be heard in special recitals every Sunday at noon from Easter until November.
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