Dome of St. Blasien

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Dome of St. Blasien

The viewer's eye is involuntarily drawn to the magnificent dome of the former Benedictine abbey.

How does such a majestic church come to be built in the remote forest of the Alb Valley? This question cannot be answered without mentioning its builder, Abbot Martin Gerbert, an ingenious personality with a spiritual view of the world.

Strongly influenced by the ideas of the French Enlightenment, which sought to replace faith in God by belief in reason, he tried to save the Benedictine abbey threatened by disappearance after the catastrophic fire of 1768.

The construction of this dome was to be the evidence set in stone of the new era of intellectual history. An answer to the Enlightenment in three ways:

  • through his theological conception of the compatibility of faith and reason,
  • through the neoclassical architecture which gave the sacred building a style of modernity, and 
  • finally through the "last rearing up against the doom and gloom marked by the ecclesiastical political situation". (H. Brommer)

The so-called "Black Forest Dome" was inaugurated in 1783 as an abbey with the then third-largest church dome in Europe.

Not even 100 years later, in 1874, the dome again experienced a severe fire disaster.

200 years after the consecration the contemporary interior was created by extensive refurbishment.

The rotunda shines in white marble, the pews and the organ at the end of the monastic choir forming a contrast in colour. The harmony and liberating volume of the interior are probably due to the evenness of the proportions. The sphere of the central dome area corresponds to 36 meters in diameter, which is also the exact height from the floor to the apex of the dome.

The pillars, which encompass the space like an inner bowl, tower 18 meters up and support the dome as a hemisphere whose radius is also 18 meters.

The choir again has a length of two times 18 equalling 36 meters. The external dimensions are based on this harmony as well: The width of the exterior facade of 50 meters is equivalent to the height of the main sphere, which, again, is 50 meters high.

On top of the dome, already visible from afar, shines the golden orb with the cross, heralding the time when St. Blasien was still an imperial abbey.
That should be enough for a first impression. Click on the links to get detailed information.


In the Dome:
Saturday: 7 pm
Sunday:  10 am
Sunday:   11.15 am*
* additionally during school term

See: Newsletter

In Albtal:
Sunday:    8.45 am

In Menzenschwand:
Saturday:  7.15 pm
Sunday:    9.30 am

Opening hours of the dome

Winter time:
From 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Summer time:
From 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

During church services or other events the Dome is  not open for tourists!