You can start the virtual stroll at the place of your choice by selecting a key location from the list below.
Arcas Alley (1)
A few metres further on, where the passageway narrows, we have a choice of two lanes. On the left, Praximergasse leads to Obere Gasse, but we will turn right to arrive at the beautiful Arcas square.
Arcas Alley (2)
This is the picturesque passage we promised you! We're going to pass under this arch and then look back to see it from the other side.
Arcas Alley (3)
Old cities are always fascinating and conducive to daydreams... Who was passing by? What stories could tell this passage between two houses? Who still crosses it today?
Arcas Fountain
The Arcas Fountain is made of gneiss from Andeer, a village above Thusis on the San Bernardino road. Its theme is the spirits of Scalära, the special hell of the people of Chur. According to this legend, the bodies of sinners were dug up and taken by two Capuchins to the Scaläratobel valley, where they had to atone for their sins.
Arcasplatz (1)
There is nothing medieval about this beautiful triangular square. Until 1971, it was the extension of two alleys lined with old, ugly warehouses. Nowadays, despite actually covering a large underground car park, it's a beautiful and lively place.
Arcasplatz (2)
When the area was redeveloped, the architect Theodor Hartmann had the old warehouses demolished to create this new square, which has retained its medieval appearance. The houses facing the river were built against the old city wall, which probably dates from the 13th century. A combination of the old and the new that has resulted in the most beautiful square in Chur.
Arcasplatz (3)
We are here at the very end of Arcas Square, with our backs to the arched passageway that leads to Martinsplatz, where we can also go through the picturesque Bärenloch by taking the slightly sloping alleyway that you see on the left.
Bridge over Plessur
The Plessur River rises at an altitude of 2400m on the slopes of the Parpaner Rothorn, one of the peaks overlooking Arosa. It flows into the Rhine a little less than 3km from here, after a 33km course.
Brotlaube
The passage between Martinsplatz and Arcas Square is called Brotlaube, which roughly translates as "bread arcade". There were probably bread ovens here a few centuries ago...
Bärenloch
The Bärenloch ("bear hole") is a set of two narrow medieval courtyards, which are among the oldest buildings in Chur and still illustrate the structure of the settlement before the great fire of 1464. It is an enchanting and timeless place that should not be missed!
Cathedral Esplanade
The cathedral portal is flanked on both sides by six slender columns with attic bases and early Gothic floral capitals, linked by six colourful arches. The arched window above is probably the largest medieval window in Graubünden.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption
This cathedral with its magical and mysterious atmosphere was built between 1154 and 1270, probably on the foundations of earlier churches dating back to the 5th century. The late Gothic high altar from 1492, the carved choir and the Romanesque sculptures on the bases and capitals of the columns are particularly noteworthy.
Comandergasse (1)
No, it is not the alley of some "commander", it is named after Johannes Comander, a Catholic priest who joined Protestantism at the beginning of the 16th century and preached for years in the St. Martin church, which had become reformed.
Comandergasse (2)
Above St. Martin's Church, Kirchgasse and Comandergasse meet in a small cobbled square opposite the Rätisches Museum, the historical museum of Graubünden. At the time of our visit in July 2021, the charm of the place was unfortunately broken by renovation work.
Episcopal Castle
The bishop's castle was built after 1272, following the inauguration of the cathedral, and took on its present Baroque appearance between 1732 and 1733. It is built around a central courtyard with rich stucco decorations and is decorated with four pilasters on its façade. The building, with its library and archives, is listed as a cultural asset of national importance.
Hof (1)
Seen from the Hof (the inner courtyard of the fortress), the Torturm is not very impressive. Built in the 14th century, it served not only as a gateway between the courtyard and the city, but also as a public inn for serving the bishop's wine. The name "Restaurant Hofkellerei" is still inscribed on the facade, but it is closed and the whole building has been renovated in 2020.
Hof (2)
Much of Chur's old town is closed to traffic, but curiously, the Bischöflicher Hof is largely a car park, which spoils the beauty of this large square lined with old buildings. Fortunately, there are still some great angles of view left!
Hofsteig
We enter the Hof district by passing under the Torturm ("gate tower") which rises above the stairs. An impressive and picturesque tower when seen from the outside!
Hofstrasse
These stairs lead up to the Hof district, where stand the Bischöfliches Schloss (Bishop's Castle) and the Cathedral Our Lady of the Assumption, both listed as cultural properties of national significance. On our left, the hidden building is the Rätisches Museum, which was being renovated in summer 2021.
Kirchgasse
On the Martinsplatz side, the arched entrance to the Bärenloch is located at the bottom of the Kirchgasse (church alley), which climbs towards the cathedral and the bishop's castle.
Lindenquai (1)
Nowadays, Lindenquai («quay of the lindens») is no longer lined with trees - if it ever was! Lined with beautiful old houses, it leads to Bärenloch, a very picturesque passage to Martinsplatz.
Lindenquai (2)
Nowadays, Lindenquai («quay of the lindens») is no longer lined with trees - if it ever was! Lined with beautiful old houses, it leads to Bärenloch, a very picturesque passage to Martinsplatz.
Lindenquai (3)
Here our view is directed towards the Lindenquai alley. The arched passageway to the Bärenloch is on our right. Keep your head down, the passage is rather low!
Martinsbrunnen
First mentioned in 1556, the St Martin's Fountain was almost completely rebuilt in Scalära stone in 1716. It is the only fountain in the town with reliefs and a statue. The column and statue were in fact recreated in 1910 from an original of 1716 and were completely renovated in 1990.
Martinskirche
St. Martin's Church was built on the remains of a Carolingian church. Completed in 1491, it became a reformed municipal church in 1526. Its bell tower, built in 1509, was given its spire in 1917-1918. On its south wall are three stained glass windows from 1919, works by Augusto Giacometti, a painter born in Val Bregaglia, the valley that descends from the Upper Engadine into Italy.
Martinsplatz (1)
Here we are in front of the entrance to the Martinskirche, the reformed church of St. Martin. A little further on, we see the St. Martin's Fountain with a model of the old town in front of it.
Martinsplatz (2)
To the east of the square is the Comandergasse, which runs around the church and climbs towards the Hof district, where the cathedral and the bishop's castle stand.
Obertor Roundabout
The Obertor ("upper tower"), which dates from the first half of the 13th century, is one of the three gates that escaped the demolition of the medieval fortifications in the 19th century. However, our virtual stroll will enter the old town through another picturesque passage.
Passage to Episcopal Court
There is nothing picturesque in the passage under the Torturm, it is just a soulless tunnel bathed in light at both ends.
Plessurquai (1)
To enter the old town through a small picturesque passage, we first walk up the river to the footbridge that you can see on our right on the map below.
Plessurquai (2)
At the footbridge over the river, we cross the road and enter the lane opposite.
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