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St. Martin Parish Church

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The St. Martin Parish Church is a late-Baroque hall church and is the seventh church to be built in the centre of Schwyz. The first church was erected in around 800 AD. Six more followed. According to the master church-builder Kaspar Braun of Einsiedeln, the sixth church was too small and in need of repair. And so, the new church was built between 1769 and 1774. The construction was overseen by the brothers Jakob and Johann Singer, who were originally from Tyrol.

Location

The St. Martin Parish Church stands a little elevated on a natural terrace by Schwyz town square. From the top, you have great views of the square and the town hall. The church faces eastwards and consists of a nave, a transept and a choir with a semi-circular apse.

The church’s exterior

In contrast to the interior, the church’s exterior is entirely cubic, compact and clearly structured via pilasters with capitals. The church’s exterior appearance is dominated by the colours grey, light grey and white. The transept is characterised by its gable with oval windows. Large, arched windows and tripartite, semi-circular openings define the church’s exterior appearance.

Tower

The base of the tower was built in 1481. The clock hands are attached to gables and the belfry features large sound openings. The dragon-head gargoyles date from an earlier period. The steeple features an octagonal lantern topped with a needle-sharp pyramid. An octagonal roof turret adorns the roof above the apse. A small Madonna sits on top of it.

Surroundings

On the church’s southern wall, a plaque commemorates the chief magistrate Alois von Reding and the old cemetery. Alois von Reding (1765-1818) was the victor of Rothenthurm, an opponent of Helvetic centralisation, and the first chief magistrate of Switzerland. A memorial stone at the entrance to the former Betschart crypt also commemorates the old cemetery. The steps to the town square were altered in 1859 and 1889.