A Protestant City As Bishop’s Seat
The Knillenburg Prospect is an oil painting from the 17th century, possibly commissioned by the then bishop of Chur, Johann Flugi von Aspermont, who kept it in his castle Knillenburg near Merano. The painting shows a bird’s-eye view of early modern Chur.
It also provides many details of urban architecture still evident in the city today. Furthermore, it highlights Chur’s confessional structure: the Catholic court („Hof“) overlooking the Protestant city below, close-by one another and yet visibly separated by strong walls.
The Reformation established itself in Grisons following the religious discourses of Ilanz in 1526 which entitled each parish to choose its confession freely. Chur, the bishop’s seat since the Early Middle Ages, opted for the new faith. Also, the establishment of professional guilds with their own statutes led to a further political emancipation of its citizens away from the bishop’s political power.
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