Monday, May 5, 2014

Church of St. Elizabeth - Basel

The Church of St. Elizabeth in Basel, Switzerland was built between 1857 and 1864. It was the first church in Basel built after the reformation and is an example (some say the best example in Switzerland) of Neo-Gothic architecture, a revival of Gothic architecture that was very popular in the 19th century. It is now home to the Open Church of St. Elizabeth which has both Protestant and Catholic clergy and has a "come as you are policy," being open to visitors of all religions. In an article going back to 2002, it noted that once a month the church held a service just for gays. Switzerland has traditionally been about half Catholic and half Protestant (Swiss Reformed), although the percentage of Catholics versus Protestants has been climbing (primarily because many Protestants have gone non-denominational) and the number of Christians has been declining (from 97.6% of the country in 1970 to 80.5% in 2000.
St. Elizabeth with its elaborate finials (decorative ends).  
A front/side view of St. Elizabeth.
The imposing front with a light-blue clock that stands out.
A few gargoyles inhabit the upper reaches.
I really love the added color of the clock that contrasts with the darkened gray stone.
The blue clock was on three sides of the main spire. 
Over the front entrance. Jesus at the well.
Greenery outside adds some nice color to the drab exterior.
An interesting statue adorns the side of the church. What looks like a dog peers over the lap of a priest. I would love to know the story. It almost reminds me of something from the Pink Panther.
Inside, looking back toward the entrance. The organ in the traditional spot above the door.
The altar. Very simple, probably leaning more Protestant that way, than Catholic.
Some interesting stained glass.
A close-up of the spire from the window above.
A close-up of the Crucifixion from the window above. 

I enjoyed these black and white panes surrounded by color, almost like a black and white movie. Very distinctive.
Another example of the black and white. It really stands out in this setting. I find my eyes drawn toward the black and white, rather than the color. There is at least one other example in the church I photographed, but it did not turn out.
Some nice simple glass with almost the same impact, colored outside with a black and white inside.
This time with a blue border instead of red. I enjoy the contrast.


  1. Such an interesting contrast/combination of dull Gothic and rich color, with that contrast even found in the stained glass. Love it.

  2. What a nice idea--two different religions sharing the same space. That black and white glass is so interesting.