Built between 1235 and 1365 the Saint Martin’s collegiate church is an important example of Gothic architecture in Alsace. Because of a fire in the south tower in 1572 the framework and all the roofs were destroyed. The tower was replaced three years later by the original lantern bulb (a construction on the top of the dome which has the form of a lantern) which gives the Church its characteristic silhouette. The church has been restored several times. In 1982 during the most recent restoration, foundations of a church from the year 1000 and traces of extensions from the 11th and the 12th centuries were found.
The inhabitants of Colmar consider for a long time the Saint Martin’s collegiate church as their cathedral (in German “Münster”). But in fact it was really a cathedral only about ten years, from Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790) to the Concordat of 1801. The two constitutional bishops who followed one another were not able to assert themselves and to organize a diocese, because it was in the two thirds still devoted to Rome.