During the restauration in summer 1900, the remains of the Fraumünster crypt were rediscovered. The Fraumünster abbey that had lasted through the Reformation in 1524, was demolished during the restauration. Instead, the town hall and the new cloister were built in their place. The newly discovered crypt beneath the Fraumünster choir was used as storage space. Only in 2016, after renovations, the crypt opened its doors to the public.
The remnants of a wall are the last testimonies of earlier construction. They are likely to date back to the 9th century, the foundation of the abbey. Ruins suggest the perimeter of the crypt at that time. In the 11th century, the crypta underwent major renovations and relics were stored within.
The exhibition in the crypt museum allows a glimpse at the developement of the monastry, the Reformation and the history of today's Fraumünster. Drawing and animations document the construction of the monastry.
The exhibition also focuses on the Reformation. Among the exhibits, you will find facsimilies of letters by Heinrich Bullinger, for example to Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchton, and an Ulrich Bible, that was published in 1755 by Fraumünster pastor Johann Caspar Ulrich. The statue of the Virgin Mary is the highlight of the exhibition. She was recovered during the excavation at the neighboring Börsenstrasse in 2013 and is testimony to the iconoclasm after the Reformation.
The third part of the exhibition shows the evolution of the abbey to today's parish church, featuring the portraits of all pastors since 1524.
For more information about the archeological findings in the Fraumünster crypt, we suggest reading the following report by Petra Ohnesorg (German).
You can obtain a leaflet about the crypt at the Fraumünster Shop.
Summer | 1 March – 31 October
Mon–Sun, 10 am – 6 pm
Winter | 1 November bis 28 February
Mon–Sun, 10 am – 5 pm
Admission to the crypt museum is included in the general admission fee of CHF 5.–.