IN A NUTSHELL
WHAT: Ulm Cathedral
WHERE: City of Ulm, which is also the birth city of
WHY: World's tallest church spire; homey Christmas Market
WHEN: Any time of year
HOW: Day trip for those in Southern Germany. I
usually stopped in Ulm on my way to or coming back from a further
destination. The cathedral does not take long to visit (unless
you climb the spire!).
IF YOU LIKE THIS... Then you should check out
St. Peter's Basilica
in Rome or the Frauenkirche
is the home of the largest cathedral in Southern Germany. This
magnificent work of engineering and architecture holds the
tallest church spire at a height of 161m.
Many people mistake Cologne's Dom as the highest church in Germany
(and in Europe) and indeed that church is massive, but Ulm is
actually taller (see the list of churches at the bottom of this page
Work began on this cathedral in 1377, and was carried on in
intervals until 1545. It took another 300 years to get
finished, when work began once again in 1844 and the cathedral was
finally completed in 1890. Today this giant Gothic church
measures an astounding 464 ft long and is 159 feet wide. The
massive interior has the capacity to hold 30,000 people.
Click Here for a panorama of Ulm Cathedral
to the church can pay a small fee to climb the 768 steps up to the
top of the steeple. From the top of the spire you can see the
Alps on a clear and sunny day.
the A8 between Stuttgart and Munich, turn south on the B10, which takes you right into Ulm.
You can't miss the cathedral, as it is by far the tallest structure
in the area.
The Cathedral is located in the middle of Ulm's downtown pedestrian
area. Find a parking garage once you arrive at the downtown
There should be signs indicating locations of the local parking
areas. Once you have parked, head for the center of town.
It will be tough to keep track of the church spire since you will be
in the middle of buildings which will block out its view. If
you lose your way, simply ask a pedestrian.
Click Here to map your route to Ulm!
Below is a list of the tallest
churches in the world as they currently stand. Many of these
churches have held records for the tallest building in the world.
In the 19th Century, the centuries-long building process reached a
fury as several different churches in Europe raced to outdo each
other as the tallest church (and building) in the world.
Note the difference between the "tallest" church and the "largest"
church. One title denotes height, while the other title
Two interesting facts to go along with this list:
1) The Cathedral in Lincoln, England, was actually once 159.7m tall
and finished in 1311 (several centuries before any of those
currently on the list) was the tallest building in the world from
1311 to 1549, at which point the spire collapsed to its current
height of 83m.
2) If it is ever finished, Barcelona's
will be the world's tallest church with a height of 172m.
Top Ten World's Tallest Churches
intended to be shorter, but increased in size to beat out
Cologne's Dom (finished 10 years prior).
Lady of Peace Basilica
largest church in the world; tallest church dome
tallest building in the world from 1880 to 1884
tallest building in the world from 1876 to 1880
tallest building in the world from 1847 to 1876; only the tower
was left standing after WWII
tallest building in the world from 1625 to 1847
Interesting to note that Hamburg has two churches on this list
largest church with the tallest dome in the world from 1626 to