Basilica of St. Lorenz from the outside

Basilica of St Lorenz

Landmark of Town

The Basilica of St Lorenz is a landmark of Kempten and towers over the city. It is considered to be the first large church building in southern Germany after the end of the Thirty Years' War and is now Kempten's Catholic parish church. The imposing staircase invites visitors to take a tour, because apart from the double tower facade visible from the outside, the magnificent interior is particularly worth seeing.

Church History

There has been a monastery in Kempten since 752, the first in the entire Allgäu, which was probably moved to the present site of the Residence Kempten after 955. There is evidence of a first church from the eighth century and the three-nave late Gothic parish church "St. Lorenz uffm Berg" on the hill of the Basilica of St Lorenz as predecessor buildings. During Kempten's time as a twin city, there were repeated disputes between the princely abbey and the imperial city of Kempten. In 1632, during the Thirty Years' War, the monastery and church were looted and destroyed by the Swedes and the citizens of the imperial city.

Baroque gardens and Basilica of St. Lorenz

Prince-Abbot Roman Giel von Gielsberg then commissioned the construction of the monastery and residence in a palatial building with a representative double church, which served as a monastery and parish church. In 1652 the foundation stone for the church building was laid and from 1670 the church and monastery complex were ready for use. The monastery received its Baroque splendor, which can still be admired today in the State Rooms of the Residence, in the 18th century. In 1802, Bavarian troops occupied the princely abbey and the imperial city of Kempten, whereupon the monastery was dissolved and the Basilica of St Lorenz has been exclusively a parish church ever since.

Choir stalls of Basilica of St. Lorenz
Basilica of St. Lorenz from the outside
Splendid interior of the Basilica of St. Lorenz



Externally, the location of the Basilica St Lorenz on a hill as well as its magnificent double tower facade and the mighty dome are particularly striking. Despite the simple exterior façade, it dominates Kempten's cityscape like hardly any other building. Yet, the interior is rather impressive, too. The interior decoration of the church was started in 1660. Particularly noteworthy are the raised and partly fully sculptural stucco by Giovanni Zuccalli, the stucco marble panels by a "Frau Stuckhatorin" – presumably Barbara Hackl – and the frescoes by Andreas Asper. The intricately carved choir stalls are also decorated with rare stucco marble panels and numerous altars adorn the church.


For your visit to the Basilica of St Lorenz

In December and January, the Bründl nativity scene can be viewed on selected dates in the crypt below the choir of the Basilica of St Lorenz. It is the life's work of the crib maker Adolf Bründl, who comes from the Kempten district of Lenzfried, and is exhibited on approximately 25 square metres.

We also recommend the Basilica music with numerous concerts – amongst others – the market music.

Drawing of Hildegard and Charlemagne

Kempten tipster


Drawing of the historical personality queen Hildegard

WildeHilde Tip

As a generous benefactor of the monastery of Kempten I was immortalised with a ceiling painting in the Basilica. Can you find it?


Things worth seeing around the Basilica

The Basilica of St Lorenz is not to be considered as a single building, but rather the overall picture, which also includes the square that surrounds the church. The southern part of this baroque square is the Hildegardplatz, where the weekly market is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays and where there is also a lot of activity. Around the square, sunbathers cavort on the benches, skaters in front of the Residence and families at the fountain or under shady trees.
Cafés and small shops around the square and in the nearby pedestrian zone invite you to stroll and linger. Those interested in history can visit the State Tooms of the Residence, which provide an insight into the life of the prince abbots. The Basilica of St Lorenz and the Residence Kempten are connected by a building so that the monks could get from the monastery to the church without getting wet. The courtyard garden north of the Residence is also worth a detour.
Baroque gardens and Basilica of St. Lorenz
Kempten's weekly market in front of the Basilica of St. Lorenz
Virtual round tour
The video shows the Hildegardplatz as well as the interior of the Basilica of St Lorenz and in this way you can already get an impression of it all from the distance. Have a look around.


Arrival, parking & public transport

You will find all the important information and notes on your journey to Kempten, on-site parking, public transport and mobility in Kempten and the Allgäu on the respective pages.

arrival parking public transport


Church of St Mang

The Protestant counterpart of the Basilica is the Church of St Mang at the square with the same name.
The building history of this church also provides exciting insights into Kempten's eventful past.
Church of St. Mang
Church of St. Mang