The Basilica of St Ulrich and St Afra is in Augsburg city, one of the oldest cities under the state of Bavaria. It’s just an hour away from Munich city and can be counted as one of the largest of early modern German cities. I have been living here throughout my Europe tour and I love how the Germans have well kept their architecture and traditions and while I was on a tour around the city that’s how I stumbled across St Ulrich and Afra church.
It was a cold winter when I arrived in Germany and from a distance, the church was filled with snow around the lawn and I think it was too beautiful to look at first sight. The first impression I had was that the church did look ancient somewhat (historical) but I never knew or heard about this church so instead of google searching, I decided to get inside and learn the history that lies behind this beautiful ‘onion dome’ historical Gothic church right in the middle of Augsburg city.
It is learned that the treaty of the Peace of Augsburg signed in 1555 allowed the co-existence of Catholicism and Protestantism on this sacred ground. The foundations of the current churches are built on top of the remains of two houses of worship that may have dated back to the fifth and sixth centuries.
Historical Background of St Ulrich & St Afra –
- Named after the patron saints of Augsburg, St. Ulrich and St. Afra was originally a Catholic basilica of late Gothic architecture with Renaissance tower and onion dome.
- The Roman tomb of St. Afra, which was martyred in 304. The building is a great example of Gothic architecture in Germany.
- After the treaty St. Afra remains as a Catholic church and St. Ulrich became a Lutheran church.
- In its interior, it conserves three enormous and very precious altars of Renaissance ends considered a masterpiece of the German sculpture of the period.
- Its high bell tower with an “onion”, which dominates the city of the south, served as a prototype for the construction of numerous baroque towers of Bavaria.
- This the church where two denominations of faith share the peace to worship and to embrace the glory of God.
I was amazed by how the interior looks, they are decorated with sculptures and painted panels. The chancel has a high altar along with two altars on both sides, choirs with framed artworks by famous painters, signs indicate this is a Catholic channel. The crypt holds the tombs of St.Ulrich and St. Afra. The Shrine keeps the bones of St.Ulrich. (click on my YT channel to watch). It was a worth it trip to the church.