There are many spots within the inner city that people come to and experience their own individual feeling of inner peace while reading, looking around, relaxing or gathering with friends. Some of them shared their peaceful thoughts with me.
I meet with Şahin, 52, an employee at a nearby store, at the Baroque Garden of St. Clemens’ Church. He loves spending his lunchbreak in this garden, relaxes for about half an hour and then he feels fully recovered and ready to return to the hurry-scurry. He says: I like the water feature where the birds are happily taking a sip and play. To me that’s a real pinnacle of peace!
The inner courtyard of the Town Hall is where I talk to Hanna and Ina, both 26, students at the university of fine arts. Now and then, they use to sit on these iron benches at the „Platz des Westfälischen Friedens“, to take a breath when on a shopping trip. Some tourist guide showed them around when they just moved to Münster. That’s how they learned about the Peace Treaty of Westphalia: That’s pretty interesting to us and even more so this sculpture called „Toleranz durch Dialog“ (Dialogue-Tolerance) which refers to the Peace of Westphalia. Once some foreign students asked us about the famous „Cheerleader“-benches – and thanks to our tourguide we informed them about their error: the spanish sculptor went by the name of Chillida!
Ortrud, 78, is a retiree and my neighbour. She introduces to me her 22-year-old granddaughter Nina from Berlin and invites me for an iced coffee. They tell me how they like to sit and enjoy the atmosphere here at St. Lambert’s Church by the well. As we look around, Ortrud points at the wrought-iron cages: These are the reminders of a very gruesome chapter of the city’s history – the Anabaptist’s cages. In my opinion, they remind us to be fully aware of and appreciate the peaceful times we are able to live in today. Because the peace of our times came out of quite some times of gloomy war.
This summer until 2.9.2018, very special peace spots – deck chairs and robust cardboard stools – invite you to relax and linger on the Lambertikirchplatz. An offer to rest in the city without any obligations (like the obligation to consume), to discuss with each other, to find peace.
The Cemetary for the Canons is one of the most extraordinary spots in Münster and my next stop after visiting the vesper service at St. Paul’s Cathedral (5:15 pm at the west choir). I adress the only other visitor at the cemetary in the middle of the cloister and ask whether he would tell me about his impressions. He says his name is Jan-Malte, 28 years old, a student of theology and adds: Being a prospective cleric, I am fond of everything related to religious architecture and stuff. But this special place is something I love to come to as an ordinary human being. It is very cool to have such a peaceful and quiet spot even in the midst of the city, seemingly far off the busy everyday-life. After mass or in between lectures I visit and regain my strength to continue my daily routine.
On my way back home I stop at a square called Marienplatz, where Ludgeristreet and Königsstreet meet. A set of benches is situated by St. Ludgeri Church and I wave at a friend of mine sitting there with her partner. Using this opportunity, I ask the lady, Linda, 44, a yoga instructor, about her favourite place regarding my chief point of a topic – peace: and she weighs her words and answers in a refined manner: I like to sit on a bench like this and look around me – the statue of Mother Mary amongst all that green, the sculpture with its many arms, and last not least all the people passing by. Watching them, it triggers my fantasy and whenever someone looks frantic or unhappy I try to send them some positive energy just using my imagination. I would smile, and one or two would return my smile. To me this is a feeling of a somehow deeper inner peace, sending out individual best wishes of comfort.
All encounters of today with the personal insights of my interviewed dialogue partners in mind I am looking forward to climbing up to my very own peace location: The office of the tower keepers on St. Lambert’s Church! This unique view – anything big and seemingly important shrinks to a tiny and irrelevant size down there. I take a deep breath – and experience the most peaceful moment of the day.
Picture of Türmerin Martje Saljé: © Münster Marketing/Claudia Große-Perdekamp
Featured article pictures: @ Martje Saljé