Viewing Point in Bern

Münsterplattform Bern
CC BY-SA 4.0 / H. Helmlechner

The Münsterplattform (Bernese: Pläfe [ˈplæfə]) is a rectangular terrace located in front of the Bern Minster, sloping towards the Aare River.

The terrace runs parallel to the nave of the Minster, with a depth ranging from 66 to 70 meters. It measures 85 meters wide at the northern end near the church wall and 86 meters wide at the southern end towards the Aare. At its southeast corner, it rises 31.5 meters above the Badgasse below.

The foundation stone for the terrace was laid in 1334, but the construction of the retaining walls was not completed until 1514, with cathedral master builder Erhart Küng playing a major role. By the time of the Bern Reformation in 1528, the embankment behind the retaining walls had not yet been completed and was 14 meters below today’s level, forming a pile of rubble. During excavations on the platform in 1986, the Bern sculpture discovery was made, revealing statues of saints removed during iconoclasm and discarded onto the rubble.

The platform served as a cemetery until 1531, after which it became a park. It is surrounded by sandstone balustrades and enclosed from the Aare by two corner pavilions. It was planted with linden trees until the 18th century, when horse chestnuts replaced them.

From 1847 to 1961, the Zähringer monument, later moved to Nydegghöfli near the Nydegg Church in 1968, stood on the platform. Since 1897, the Mattelift, an electric passenger elevator, has connected the platform with the Mattequartier on the Aare.

A memorial plaque on the southern balustrade commemorates student Theobald Weinzäpfli, who survived a fall from his horse over the wall on May 23, 1654, and later died in 1694 as pastor of Kerzers.

The Münsterplattform appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Bern!

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Visiting Münsterplattform

Address: Münsterplattform, Bern, Switzerland
Duration: 20 minutes

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