Here are some ideas ... there are so many places and spaces, all over Basel, well worth your time!
IN AND AROUND THE MÜNSTER
This tour focuses on one of Basel’s most prominent buildings - the Cathedral that was consecrated in 1019 by its founders, the Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich II and his wife Kunigunde. In addition to examining the Münster’s stylistically complex west facade and its ornamental detailing, as well as the impressive Romanesque carvings of the Galluspforte, we will also have a chance to visit the underground archaelogical display of some ancient remnants included in the so called Aussenkrypta (the outer crypt). After a walk through the Münster’s cloister, we will visit the interior of the church where we will have a look at some of its remarkable stone carvings, including the Romanesque capitals of the choir and the late-Gothic richly ornamented pulpit.
RATHAUS TO ROSSHOF
Located in a valley formed by the river Birsig, the neighborhood around the Marktplatz used to be populated by craftsmen, artisans, workers and traders who, in the early 13th c., started to form guilds - the Rathaus (City Hall) expressed architecturally their political power. We talk about the historical development of the Rathaus and explain the meaning of several of its murals. At the Marktplatz we look at the Renaissance Geltenzunft and at the interventions of the more recent past. We continue through the neighbourhood's narrow streets named after medieval crafts such as tailoring and millinery, saddle-making, ginger trading ... We climb up the hill to Nadelberg and look at its stately houses. The tour ends at the Rosshof - an artistically interpreted public place that, ages ago, used to be a “parking place” for horses.
One of Basel’s oldest neighborhoods, St.Alban-Tal was first settled by the monks of St.Alban monastery in the late 11th c. Artificial canals that drew water from the river Birs were constructed during the 12th c. - they powered numerous mills and provided the basis for a thriving paper industry that played a significant role during the time of humanism. Silk ribbon manufacturing followed yet the whole area started to deteriorate in the early 20th c. It was only because of the comprehensive urban restoration project of the 1970s / 80s that St.Alban-Tal presents itself today as an attractive historical neighbourhood.
BASEL AT NIGHT
This evening walk through old Basel gives us a chance to look at architectural forms as spaces as they appear in artificial light. Many feature of buildings and streets we think we know well seem to disappear at nighttime. In return, other architectural aspects get to be highlighted, especially if illuminated in the right way. Also of interest are views that open up as we peek into interiors not visible from the outside during the day.
This walk takes us from the 16th c. Schützenhaus, through the nearby park developed on the grounds of a former shooting range, to Basel’s only church built in the Jugendstil / neo-Romanesque style - the Pauluskirche. Along the way, we get a feeling for the way this neighborhood was developed at the turn of the 19th / 20th c. Based on urban principles of wide streets, round squares and generous green areas, Paulus-Quartier is an example of how strict building regulations, in combination with considerable freedom of formal expression, can result in high-quality living areas. In addition to discussing some of this neighborhood’s Jugendstil houses, we will also look at sculptures exhibited in the Schützenmattpark.
This tour through an attractive community that likes to call itself a large green village takes us from the village church to the Fondation Beyeler and via the Sarasin Park to Riehen's commercial center, and continues along the historic Wettstein houses. After a short bus ride, we come to the Wenken Park and end the tour by Richard Serra’s sculptural installation in the nearby English-style park.
AROUND THE BAHNHOF SBB
For more than a decade, the area around Basel’s main railway station has been undergoing an impressive architectural change. During this walk we look at some of the structures constructed during this time as well as at the neo baroque railway station and the historic buildings surrounding it.
© 2023 architecture walks and talks