Zurich is a city of spires and bell-towers, with some unique examples of church architecture and a dramatic history. Since the Reformation, all the major churches are Protestant. Begin with the Grossmünster on Zwingliplatz, the centre of the Swiss-German Reformation. It has a Romanesque crypt and cloister, windows designed by Giacometti and a long, cramped climb up to the tower, which offers wonderful views over Zurich.
Fraumünster, (on Kämbelgasse), is a church built on the site of a former abbey for rich women founded in the 9th century. Wealthy, patronised by Royals, and in possession of a truly vast organ containing 5793 pipes, the real draw of this lovely church is the windows, designed by Marc Chagall and showing various scenes including Jacob’s ladder and the Christ child. When the sun shines, they burn with the colours for which he was famous- lapis blue, forest green, searing citrus yellows- and as a result, the church attracts as many art worshippers as the more traditional kind.
St Pieterkirke’s Gothic-Baroque church soars above a peaceful square, and boasts the largest clock face in Europe, dating from 1598. Its interior is bedecked with crystal chandeliers, art and intricate carvings. It’s also possible to climb the relatively small tower, and view the city from above. Until the 20th century the church and its surrounds was protected by a night watchman, who sat in the tower all night, scanning the streets and buildings for fire- if flames were spotted, he would swing his lantern to alert the neighbours, and they would come running, with buckets of water.