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Restoring Switzerland’s tallest cathedral

Few Bern residents can remember a time when the steeple of the city's cathedral was free of scaffolding. Despite this, 70,000 people visit the tower annually to enjoy the view over the rooftops. Restoration work is due for completion in 2014.

The well-known silhouette of Bern’s Old Town, a Unesco World Heritage site, would be incomplete without the imposing accent of the cathedral. Although the foundation stone for the cathedral was laid in 1421, it wasn’t until the period 1889 to 1893 that the crown was placed atop the structure, ending the construction process.

At the construction site 100 metres above the medieval city the wind whistles through the delicately shaped sandstone blocks. Rain and moisture have damaged the interior of the spire. The work being done should bolster the structure, and the sandstone is being restored. Around three per cent of the building material has to be replaced.

(Photos: Tomas Wüthrich)

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR