Hof Church (Hofkirche) / Église Saint-Léger / The Church of St. Leodegar
Sitting on the foundation of the first church in town, dating back to 735, Hofkirche is referred to as the first church in the city, the original. It has evolved. It was a monastery, a cathedral, before a fire destroyed a large part of it. Some elements were saved from the fire of 1633. See Maria end Altar and the Pieta.
Originally dedicated to St. Maurice, it now bears the name of the patron saint of the city, Saint Leodegar. We still find works representing the two saints everywhere in this parish.
Housed on the top of the steps with its 69 meter (226 ft) high pointed towers, it is easy to take a picture of it even from the other side of the river banks but don’t just look at it from afar, get closer. It shows interesting details even around the grounds. Have you noticed the tips of the towers are not identical? One shows the cross of lilies and the second is a weather vane in the shape of a rooster.
Before even accessing the porch of the church, take a step back. On the left side of the building is a scene from the Mount of Olives (1512) which is of a beauty protected by its awning. Also on the front, in the center, are two coloured decorative elements. The first piece is of the saints carved in the doors, each bearing the colors of the city. A little higher, still very colorful, the Archangel Michael overthrowing a dragon, representing Satan. Finally, at the very top, the clock is distinguished by a wreath embellished with golden inserts. The hands of the clock are of a refined artwork reminding us of two golden royal scepters to indicate the hour and the minutes.
The porch and the portal also deserve our attention. The double carved wooden doors show a bishop on one and a knight on the other. The whole is well framed by columns worked in a series of architectural elements and details surmounted by the statuette of the Virgin Mary with a golden crown. Note the resemblance of the sculptures of the doors with the ones on the facade of the portal. They would also be St. Leodegar and St. Mauritius.
In the interior space of the porch, on each side, we see a total of six statues of saints in their respective niches and identities. They certainly each have a story to tell and a wish to grant. Here again, two of them are the protectors of the city: St. Leodegar and St. Mauritius.
The site of this place of worship goes far beyond the church. There is a memorable cemetery, a camouflaged chapel, historic houses belonging to the ecclesiastical colleague and a unique fountain. A wall surrounds a large part of the land. The part of the wall at the back of the church is made of stone with an opening leading to Adligenswilerstrasse Street. Inside the wall is built a portico with a series of arcades protecting the aligned tombs. For lack of space, some monuments are placed in the grassy part but always with respect and attention. It is a peaceful, eternal resting place colored by flowerpots.
Between the walls and slightly beyond you will notice the houses and the pretty fountain of Marienbrunnen (1683). They are part of the collegiate church. Note the Rothenburgerhaus. It dates from 1500 and it would be the oldest wooden urban house in existence in Switzerland.
I believe that I have already given a lot of detail on this place. I will refrain from telling you more about the interior assets. Go ahead, find out. The works found there are of a brilliant richness. If you want to know more, guided tours are given and allow access to a treasure room, which is otherwise inaccessible.
Finally, if you are lucky enough to be there at the time of a practice or a musical performance, there is nothing but praise for the sound capacities of the organ in this space.
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