The world's tallest church is being eroded by streams of urine
Germany’s renowned Ulm Minster, the tallest church on the planet, is being steadily eroded by passers-by relieving themselves on its ancient walls.
The church in the city of Ulm in the south of the country is at risk, according to custodians, from the acids and salts in urine causing damage to the stone on its lower walls.
The minster’s stonemasons lament that doubling the fine for those caught mid-stream to €100 has not been enough to prevent people from peeing on the building.
“I’ve been keeping an eye on it for half a year now and, once again, it’s coated with urine and vomit,” said Michael Hilbert, Ulm Minster’s head mason.
“I am not the pee-police, but it’s about maintaining public order.”
Mr Hilbert believes that the city’s Christmas market as well as a wine festival are in part to blame for the number of people urinating on the building, and wants to see more public toilets in the area.
A city spokesperson told Suedwest Presse that police patrols have increased, but no one has been caught in the act. She said the problem is likely to persist for as long as there are people.
The 14th century church is famous for boasting the highest spire in the world at 161.53 metres and being the 12th largest church by area, at 8,260 square metres. It is the fourth largest structure in the world built before the 20th century, and survived the Second World War unscathed despite the city around it being heavily bombed by the Allies. Its sandstone base has recently undergone a restoration.
Ulm is not the only city to be facing a problem with public urination. Last year, San Francisco introduced “anti-pee paint” on some of its walls in a bid to put off men caught short.
The urine-repellent coating is said to splash the urine back onto the offenders' trousers and shoes.