At its end, Augsburg’s Maximilianstrasse opens onto Ulrichsplatz with its singular arrangement of two joined churches: snuggled into the base of the imposing Catholic Basilica St. Ulrich and Afra is the diminutive Lutheran St. Ulrich’s Church.
Since the 8th century, this has been a site for sacred structures hosting pilgrimages honoring St. Afra (d. 304). In 973, Augsburg’s Bishop Ulrich was entombed near Afra; since 1012, Augsburg’s Benedictine Cloister of St. Ulrich and Afra have looked after these sacred sites.
Construction on the Benedictine monastery’s brick abbey church began in 1474 and was finished in 1500 by Burkhard Engelberg, who also built the Ulm Cathedral tower. In 1500, Emperor Maximilian I laid the cornerstone for the foundation of the choir. Due to the religious conflicts in the 16th century, the choir was not completed until 1603/04. After the 30-Year’s-War, when the church properties were divided, the “twin” churches were separated and once became Catholic, the other Lutheran.
The Basilica of St. Ulrich and Afra is one of the last major late-gothic church buildings in Schwabia. The typical onion-domed tower became an archetype for baroque churches in Bavaria. The Basilica’s richly decorated Renaissance- and Baroque-styled interior blends harmonically into the gothic structure.