Sound installation by Vladislav Shabalin with the voice of Diamanda Galás


St. Leonard’s Church in Basel is laden with a rich history. The first church was built around 1060-1070 in the style of a Romanesque basilica. Its wonderful crypt has survived and is located under the present choir, conserving wall paintings of the 12th century. The choir dates from the 14th century.

In 1133-35, the chapter of Augustinian canons established a monastery with a cloister, which hosted the controversial Council of Basel (1431-1449)

In the early 1430s, Konrad Witz, one of the most radical innovators in the art of painting of the first half of the 15th century, settled in Basel and realized a series of grand altarpieces, particularly the famous “Mirror of Salvation Altarpiece” for St. Leonard’s Church. Only individual panels survive, to be seen at Kunstmuseum, Basel (“Konrad Witz. The Unique Exhibition”, open until July 3, 2011).

Over the centuries, the church, monastery and cloister have suffered considerable damage and have been rebuilt several times. Among the oldest surviving part of the complex is the Totenhalle (Hall of the cemetery) dating back to 1450.

The church was reconstructed in 1492 as a Late Gothic church, as it stands today. After the Reformation, St. Leonard’s Church suffered iconoclasm and turned Protestant in 1528.

In the 18th century a new organ by the renowned organ builders Andreas Silbermann and his son Johann Andreas was installed.

In the complex adjacent to the church, the Lohnhof, are based the Music Museum, a theatre, the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club, the hotel restaurant au Violon, the piano institute Frédéric Chopin, a violin-making atelier and much more.