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Münster (Cathedral) Review
Basel's cathedral evolved into its current form through a combination of the shifts of nature and the changing whims of architects. A 9th-century Carolingian church, it was consecrated as a cathedral by Henry II in 1019. Additions, alterations, and reconstructions in late Romanesque and early Gothic style continued through the 12th and 13th centuries. When Basel's devastating earthquake destroyed much of the building in 1356, subsequent reconstruction, which lasted about a century, adhered to the newly dominant Gothic style. The facade of the north transept, the Galluspforte (St. Gall's Door), is a surviving remnant of the original Romanesque structure. It's one of the oldest carved portals in German-speaking Europe—and one of the loveliest. Each of the evangelists is represented by his symbol: an angel for Matthew, an ox for Luke, a lion for Mark, and a bulbous-chested eagle for John. Above, around the window, a wheel of fortune flings little men off to their fates.
Inside on the left, following a series of tombs of medieval noblemen whose effigies recline with their feet resting on lions or their loyal dogs, stands the strikingly simple tomb of Erasmus. North of the choir, you can see the delicately rendered death portraits on the double tomb of Queen Anna of Habsburg and her young son, Charles, from around 1285. The vaulted crypt was part of the original structure and still bears fragments of murals from 1202.
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