CATHEDRAL

A GEM OF GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE, FRIBOURG CATHEDRAL BOASTS EXCEPTIONAL DECORATION AND SACRED ARTISTIC TREASURES: STALLS, STAINED GLASS WINDOWS, SCULPTURED GROUPS, ETC.

Dominating the river Sarine, Fribourg cathedral is dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra. It is built from molasse stone and has three naves. The 76-metre-high tower was the highest building in Switzerland until the 19th century.

The building, in the Gothic style, has decoration that was completed in the Baroque period. The side chapels have always housed altars; there were over 20 of them in the 17th century.

The main doorway is adorned with bas-relief (14th century) representing the Last Judgement: Christ directs men to paradise or hell (where horrible creatures await). Saints, angels and prophets surround the scene, while at the centre, Saint Nicholas watches over his town.

The stained-glass windows create a unique atmosphere. The windows (eight in the nave and five in the choir: 240 m2) were created by the Polish artist Jozef Mehoffer between 1895 and 1936 and form an exemplary Art Nouveau ensemble. They represent rich compositions in which the characters blend into intensely coloured nature. The non-figurative stained glass of the high windows in the nave and the rose window in the tower are the work of Frenchman Alfred Manessier (1980s).

There is a very special atmosphere in the Saint-Sépulcre chapel . Thirteen life-sized molasse statues (1433) represent Christ being laid in his tomb. Manessier created the stained-glass windows here: The Night of Good Friday and Easter Morning.

The romantic organ (1834) is the work of local organ builder Aloys Mooser, whose workshop was in the neighbouring Gottéron valley but whose reputation was international.

People transfixed by their mobile phones: 21st century man is present in the sculpture on the cathedral's southern doorway. Volger Kurz took advantage of the 2016 restoration to add this contemporary touch to a scene cut from molasse in 1330.
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