Find an overview of the city, a list of all attractions, sights, museums, events, food, and more on our main travel information page for Constance:
Must-see places in Constance
Minster of Our Dear Lady (Münster Unserer Lieben Frau)
Cathedral of the Diocese of Constance, which was unjustly dissolved in 1821. From the ruins of the late Roman castle which stood on the same spot, a first cathedral church emerged by no later than the 7th century, and then underwent repeated alterations. After the Reformation, much rebuilding and renovation. These measures came to an end in 1853 with the building of the neo-Gothic pyramid tower. This was where the church plenary meeting was convened between 1414 and 1418. Inside, particularly worth seeing are:
- Crypt: construction from the 9th/10th centuries, with the four original gold medallions from the external wall of the choir. Known as the “Majestas Domini”, the largest piece in this store of treasure, unique in the Christian world, dates from around the year 1000.
- St. Maurice’s Rotunda: a round structure built around 940 as a replica of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. In its centre, the Holy Sepulchre, restored in the 13th century. The starting and finishing point for great medieval pilgrimages, e.g. on the “Swabian Route” to Santiago de Compostela. Frescoes and decorative figures from the Gothic and Renaissance periods.
- Cloister: sections preserved dating from the 13th to the 15th century. In the ‘Silvesterkapelle’ chapel, late Gothic frescoes.
- St. Conrad’s Chapel: construction from the 13th century, with Crucifixion altar of Bishop Hugo von Hohenlandenberg (16th century).
- St. Thomas’s Choir: late medieval spiral staircase, called the “Snail”, with richly decorated figures.
- East Choir: Gothic choir-stalls with ornate wood-carvings. Romanesque Madonna from the 13th century.
- Central nave: Romanesque monolithic pillars from the 11th century. Pulpit from 1680.
- Welser Chapel: masterpiece of late Gothic sculpture.
- West end: Renaissance organ (early 16th century) and frescoes dating from various epochs.
- Entrance hall: late Gothic double portal and “Great Christ of Constance”.
The Minster is full of other things well worth seeing. However, some of these can only be seen as part of one of the regular guided tours (in the summer months). Accompanied tours are also possible at other times, by prior appointment.
Medieval houses in Constance
Zollernstrasse with its row of medieval houses
On the north side, the Stadler printing and publishing house, established in 1905. To the east, worthy of note are the Haus “Zum guten Hirten” (“The Good Shepherd”), with its door relief of the same name dating from 1608, and, lower down, the studio and home of the famous Baden court painter Marie Ellenrieder. The façades on the south side show the remains of arcaded passageways, which point to their original use as part of the upper fishmarket.
Tall House (Hohes Haus)
The oldest medieval high-rise building was built in 1294, and, with the pointed arches of its upper windows, clearly speaks the artistic language of the Gothic. However, the interior has fragments of frescoes which can be classified as late Romanesque. The depictions of a fishmarket on the eastern façade and of a wedding party on the northern side (both from 1935) are copies from a late medieval illustrated Council of Constance chronicle.
Haus “Zum Goldenen Löwen” (“The Golden Lion“)
From around 1580, the frescoes on the façade of this characteristic building provide a vivid impression of how colourful late medieval buildings once were. Although many of the embellishments are reconstructions, the high artistic standard of the original decoration is easy to imagine.
Haus “Zur alten Katz” (”The Old Cat”) and the medieval Jewish quarters
Prior to moving into their new palace right beside the cathedral (see No. 24), the patrician guild “Zur Katz” owned this delightful property in what was at the time the “Sammlungsgasse” (the bay is a free reconstruction). After 1424, the building was sold to Constance’s Jewish community. They set up a prayer room inside which existed for only a short time. It emerges from medieval written sources that there were Jewish quarters between what are today the Münzgasse and the Salmannsweilergasse, and also in Rosgartenstrasse. There is now no visible evidence of this.
Mercantile House at the Harbour (Kaufhaus am Hafen)
The so-called “Council Building” was built in 1388 as a grain house and warehouse for trade with southern Europe, and was also for a time the headquarters of the famous Constance Canvas Trade Fair. During the Council of Constance (1414 – 1418), the conclave was convened between 8 and 11 November 1417 on the first floor of this building and elected Cardinal Otto Colonna as the one and only Pope under the name of Martin V. Later repeatedly altered, the “Council” has been a concert and congress hall since the beginning of the 20th century.
Imperia Statue in Constance
The statue by artist Peter Lenk, nine metres high and weighing eighteen tons, refers to a 16th-century Italian courtesan of the same name.
Honoré de Balzac, the famous French novelist, transported this historic figure to Constance in literary terms. His “Contes Drolatiques” are a literary monument to Imperia.
The statue has her arms outstretched and is holding two grotesque figures who have donned an imperial crown and a papal tiara, the insignia of worldly and religious power.
Rhine Gateway (Rheintor), Powder Tower (Pulverturm) and north-west bank of the Rhine
Northern city gate erected around 1200 to protect the medieval bridge. In front, the baroque Nepomuk sculpture. Downstream stands the Powder Tower, built in the first third of the 14th century as the north-western corner pillar of the city’s fortifications.
Also used for a time as the city’s prison. Opposite the Rhine Gateway is the ‘”Neptun” rowing club’s boathouse built in the style of the Bauhaus; to the left is the officers’ mess of the Emperor Frederick III 6th Baden Infantry Regiment.
A little further down is the spa and indoor swimming pool opened in 1937.
The buildings which begin further westwards are industrial firms who began to settle here at the beginning of the 19th century; some are still operational.