Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine

The ancient walls of Ulm Minster, the central church in the city of Ulm in Baden-Württemberg, are being eroded by human urine, its official stone masons told DPA on Sunday.

The acid and salts in the urine of those relieving themselves on the side of the church are causing significant damage to the stone of the lower walls.

Despite the fine being doubled from €50 to €100 for those caught passing water on the famous landmark, the number of occurrences does not seem to have dropped.

The church is famous because it boasts the highest church spire in the world at 161.53 metres, and is the fourth tallest structure in the world built before the 20th century.

Ulm Minster towering over the rest of the city surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

However, this important building is under threat unless more is done to protect it, according to its custodians.

“I have observed it again for the last half year, and once more people are urinating and vomiting on it,” said Ulm Minster’s head mason Michael Hilbert.

“I am not the pee-police, but it’s about maintaining public order,” he continued.

The “master mason” (Baumeister) believes that the different events such as a wine festival and Christmas market are one of the main causes, and that there needs to be more free public toilets to discourage people from relieving themselves outside.

Construction on the church began in 1377, but was not completed until 1890, over half a millennium later. The panorama from the top of the steeple, which involves a climb of 768 steps, offers views of the Alps on a clear day.

Although renovation and preservation work is unending on the remarkable steeple, it is the foundations that are being threatened by a more unexpected menace.

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