Münster is a university city of about 275,000 people in Westphalia, northwest Germany. The cultural capital of Westphalia, Münster has played a central role in the history of the region. The medieval city center was devastated by bombing during World War II, but Münster's citizens were among the first to choose to rebuild with complete faithfulness to the original buildings. The decision was criticized as backwards at the time, but it is much appreciated by today's visitors who stroll the cobbled streets of the Old Town.
Münster was founded by a missionary named Liudger, who was sent out by Charlemagne in 793 as part of the emperor's comprehensive plan to convert the Saxons. Both the name of the city and the words used for monastic missionary churches in Germany and England - münster and minster - derive from the monastery built by St. Liudger. Münster has remained staunchly Catholic ever since, with the exception of two dramatic years (1534-35) in which radical reformers led by John of Leiden took the city by force and set up a theocracy before being defeated and executed. On a happier note, Münster hosted the negotiations that led to the signing of the Peace of Westphalia (1648), ending the Thirty Years War.
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Sacred Sites and Religious Attractions in Munster
Münster CathedralMünster's attractive cathedral was built in the Transitional style of the early 13th century. It boasts a porch filled with medieval sculptures, a nave with only two bays, and a magnificent astronomical clock from 1540.