Built in the 9th century, the St Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church) is the oldest church in Zürich. It also boasts the largest clock face in Europe and contains some old wall paintings.
History of St. Peterskirche
The Peterskirche was originally built in the 8th century but was much altered in the 13th century and again in 1705.
Throughout the Middle Ages, the short spire with the windows was the home of the town watchman, whose duty was to look out the windows every 15 minutes for a fire. If he saw one, he would sound an alarm and hang a flag out of the window facing the fire. It seems to have worked - unlike so many European cities, Zürich never suffered a major fire.
In the 18th century, the Peterskirche's minister, Johan Kaspar Lavater, was so popular that people reserved seats for Sunday Mass. The priest was a friend of Goethe, and the two had long conversations over wine in the nearby Reblaube Gastube, which still has a "Goethestube." Lavater's grave is outside the door of the church and his house is across the square.
What to See at St. Peterskirche
The record-sized clock face of St. Peterskirche is 9m (28.5 ft.) in diameter. The minute hand alone is almost 4m (12 ft.) long.
The interior consists of a three-aisled Baroque nave and a Romanesque choir, the latter with some faded medieval murals including a glimpse of a saint.
Another interesting sight in the St Peterskirche is the name of God in Hebrew above the pulpit, reflecting the Reformation emphasis on the original biblical languages.
Quick Facts on St. Peterskirche
|Names:||Kirche St. Peter Zürich · St Peters Kirche · St. Peter's Church · St. Peterskirche|
|Styles:||Romanesque; Baroque style|
|Dates:||8th C; 13th C; 1705|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||47.371058° N, 8.540781° E|
|Address:||St. Peterhofstatt 1|
|Hours:||Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm; Sat, 9am-4pm|
|Lodging:||View hotels near St. Peterskirche|
- Personal visit (December 18, 2006).
- Rick Steves' Switzerland
- Frommer's Switzerland.
- The Rough Guide to Switzerland.
- Photos of St. Peterskirche - here on Sacred Destinations
Map of St. Peterskirche, Zurich
Below is a location map and aerial view of St. Peterskirche. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.