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Romanesque Switzerland
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The church of St. Martin in Zillis is world-famous for its Romanesque picture ceiling. The village of Zillis-Reischen lies on the Hinterrhein in the canton of GraubŁnden in Switzerland.

The church was first mentioned in a document in 831 as "ecclesia plebeia", as was the place name Zillis as "Ciranes". Further excavations and coin finds etc. confirm that the church already existed in Roman times. In the Romanesque era - at the beginning of the 12th century - this building was completely rebuilt.

Zillis, Decke, Gesamtsicht

The painted ceiling was created during this period, around 1109 to 1114. This work of art from the Romanesque period is the only work of its kind in the world that has been preserved almost completely and without being painted over. The church ceiling consists of 153 square picture panels (9 rows of 17 panels each), each about 90 cm long on a side. Most of them are made of fir wood and were first primed with a thin layer of plaster, then painted upright and only then inserted into the ceiling.

Zillis, Decke

Some detailed views of the pictures:

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Zillis, St. Martin

The pictures were taken on the occasion of a parish excursion in September 2016. We visited the exhibition on the picture ceiling and the church. Details for tours