It was the year 1468 …

… when Jörg von Halspach went home one evening, tired but satisfied with what he had accomplished! It was the day he put the cornerstone for what would be the biggest church of Munich … the “Cathedral of our Blessed Lady” or the way we call it – “Frauenkirche”!

Before I tell you about my adventure today of having found myself all of a sudden taken back to the 15th century – I’ll give you a brief historical background – together with some nice stories!

The construction of the church was started in 1468, the towers were completed in 1488 and the church was consecrated in 1494. The domes atop each tower were not built till 1525. Their design was modelled on the “Dome of the Rock” on the Temple Mount or “Haram al-Sharif” in Jerusalem … as a result of a vision John the Evangelist had of the”heavenly Jerusalem”!

The cathedral was built for 20,000 people eventhough Munich, at that time, had only 13.000 residents! I’d call that great advance planning …

During the Second World War the cathedral was badly damaged – the roof had collapsed and one of the towers was in pitiful condition. Restoration took till 1994.

The two towers are not quite the same height even though it does make this impression … one is exactly 99 meters or 358 feet tall and the other taller by 12 cm or 4.75 inches! That sounds really strange .. but it is true – and today I was told the story of how that might have happened. The additional height is exactly the one of a layer of bricks! Apparently, so I was told, the workers on one tower went already for lunchbreak while the ones on the second kept on working and added real quick another one layer! If that is authentic, I don’t know – but I sure like this explanation!

Once you enter the Cathedral, the first thing you see … is the so-called “Devil’s Footstep”! It is right in front of you and impossible to miss .. and there is of course a story!
When the building was finished but not yet consecrated, the devil stealthily sneaked through the big gate and carefully looked around – and started to laugh after a short time while powerfully stamping on the floor in delight, leaving his footprint! Why he laughed you may ask .. because he didn’t see ONE window from that spot and was sure, the church can not be used as such and was a big failure. He felt great pleasure thinking he might have won after all and was like thunderstruck the moment he made another step as there they were – lots of high, colorful, most beautiful windows he couldn’t see before as their sight was hidden by columns! In his great rage he transformed to strong wind trying to destroy the building in a last attempt to win – but failed. Since that time one can hear wind howling around the church day and night … it is the devil who could never accept that the good won against the evil! If you look carefully at the picture, there’s even a trace of the devil’s spur – and just for the records, he has shoe-size 42 …!

Let me tell you about the unforgettable adventure I had after visiting the church! It certainly belongs to those things one never forgets, which touch one’s soul.

It was from the beginning on my intention to show you the big bell and the construction around – both are a real impressive sights in particular as they are still in their original state. I don’t know how often I ran – during my childhood – up the stairs from the bottom all the way to the top to see how fast I could do it … it was permitted and therefore I was sure, I would not encounter any problem this time – but gradually walking up I might stress, not running! Well – I was wrong … I found to my great dismay, any access to the tower was prohibited due to the bad condition of the wooden stairs and the dangers involved. As I am not a person who gives up easily, I went to the responsible and finally succeeded, after two hours of waiting, lots of diplomacy and several times assuring him I would do it on my own responsibility, to get a very hesitant “Ok”. I was told I had to take the elevator to the top and would be allowed to descend from there … I was more than curious and of course very excited!

When I arrived at the visitor’s platform, some very friendly lady who was informed about my coming, opened the heavy wooden door on the floor which I didn’t even notice – and I started to climb down the stairs. My heart was beating a bit faster than usual when I heard the door being closed and locked above my head and there I was … alone, back in history. The wood creaked under my feet and the air smelled old … this must be how history smells I thought! It was windy … remember the story of the devil? I stood there for a short while gazing around, listening to the wind howling around the tower – it was an awsome feeling I will certainly not forget and I enjoyed every second of it!

After carefully walking around and trying to absorb as many impressions as possible, I took the pictures, climbed back up to that closed door … and knocked. We had fixed I would do that and they would open for me and let me crawl back to the 21st century … but nothing happened. I knocked again … nothing. After a short while I knocked again, much stronger though … and all of a sudden I heard someone shouting from the distance “Ok, ok … I’m coming!”
I had to silently laugh .. just imagine they’d have forgotten all about me – I’d have spent the night there … some 500 years back in time!


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