Collegiale of Neuchâtel

The construction of this cathedral, known as the Collegiale of Neuchâtel, was begun about 1185.

Cathedrals could take a long time to build in those days considering each stone had to be hand worked, and more importantly, the money for the building of the church was usually not all available at the beginning of construction. This reminds one of grand building projects of our own day with their 'cost over-runs' and need for additional money. Despite being incomplete the cathedral was consecrated in 1276, and the building of the cathedral continued.

Louise of Neuchâtel is responsible for the Monument of the Counts a group of statues and reliefs sculpted in the mid-1300s, and still to be seen to the left of the altar. The south chapels were built sometime in the 1400s, and the raising and crowning of the south bell tower was completed in 1428.

During the Reformation in the 1500s the cathedral was emptied of all its religious art in an act of over-religious fervor by protestants. (I can say this freely about the protestants because I count myself among that particular religious sect.) Thus the church, though still beautiful, is not as beautiful as it once was with most of its artwork destroyed.

Wood Statues, Counts of Neuchâtel, 14th Century

Rose Window, Neuchâtel Cathedral

The years 1672-1678 saw continued destruction with the removal all carvings of the tympanum of St. Peter's door, and the whitewashing of the walls and vaults. The galleries in the western part of the nave were constructed at this time. The pipe organ was installed over the western gallery in 1750.

Extensive 'restoration' between 1869 and 1870 resulted in the cleaning of the walls and vaults, the destruction of mural paintings and exterior chapels, and the installation of the current pulpit where the preacher traditionally stands and gives his sermon, and the current pews were the congregation sits and listen to him. The new organ was installed in another section of the cathedral only in 1996.

Today the cathedral is used for church services and some very fine concerts. See the Events portion of this website for concert dates


Organ Installed 1996, Neuchâtel