A picture depicting the tower about 5 years before removal

The Christoffelturm was a tower built between the years 1344 and 1346. It was located in the old part of the Swiss city of Bern, in the upper section of Spitalgasse, near Holy Spirit Church.

After a political decision on December 15, 1864, the Christoffelturm was removed by Gottlieb Ott, a Swiss building contractor. Ott began the destruction of the tower in spring of the following year.[1]

The decision to remove the tower, which had become a landmark of sorts, was not met without opposition,[2] and the motion of removal succeeded only by a 415 to 411 vote.

During an extended period of time, other statues existed near or actually on the site where the tower used to stand. These included a statue of King David, both as a boy holding a slingshot, and as a man. The tower also featured a statue of Saint Christopher. An early 20th century plan to erect a figure of the Bernese knight Rudolf von Erlach was never realised.

Other towers in BernEdit

Bern's other medieval guard towers are the Zytglogge and the Käfigturm. These towers still stand today.


In the Zytglogge (Clock Tower), a figure of the Greek god Kronos or Chronos strikes the bell atop the tower each hour.[3]

The tower was originally of wood, when it was built sometime between 1218 and 1220.[3] It survived until sometime in the very early 15th century, when it was burned down in the fire that struck the city in 1405.[4]

However, it was rebuilt with a new stone design, and has stood ever since. It was when it was rebuilt that it was fitted with a clock. The clock too, however, soon broke, and was left unserviced and broken for 122 years before 1530, when Caspar Brunner installed a new well-functioning mechanism.[3]


The Käfigturm (Cage Tower), built 1256, ceased to be a prison in 1897.[5]


  1. ^ "www.iam.unibe.ch". Archived from the original on 26 January 2005. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  2. ^ "The Fight for Christoffelturm" (in German). Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  3. ^ a b c "Bern: The Zytglogge". Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  4. ^ "Zytglogge the Time Bell". Archived from the original on 23 February 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  5. ^ "Käfigturm information". Archived from the original on 29 January 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2007.

External linksEdit