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The Piss Police

Ulm Minster in the city of Ulm, Germany became the tallest structure in the world in 1890. It held that title for eleven years until the completion of Philadelphia City Hall in 1901. Even though the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, is taller than Ulm Minster by about 2,200 feet, Ulm Minster remains the tallest church in the world and the largest Protestant church in Germany. The cathedral just underwent a series of extensive renovations, being that the construction of the church commenced in 1377. However, engineers have recently stumbled upon another problem that can’t be fixed as easily as one might think. To put it bluntly, the church may have survived the bombings of the Second World War unscathed, but the foundation of the church itself is being eroded by the piss and vomit from drunk passersby.ulm_minster_by_crystal3006-d3buvrvCity officials have already increased the fines for those caught relieving themselves against the cathedral. Michael Hilbert, a member of the preservation agency known as the Münsterbau, has already extensively commented to German press regarding the disrespect for the church, saying that he refuses to be part of what he called the pinkelpolizei, which can be translated from German as the “Piss Police”. Hilbert also lays some blame on the church’s popularity. Ulm Minster is usually host to local celebrations, both religious and secular, like wine festivals and Christmas markets. Appropriate facilities are not usually provided, so many are prompted to turn to the church’s walls as an alternative.

Ulm Minster is not the only landmark susceptible to the corrosive properties of human waste. Reports have shown that the white building blocks of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India are beginning to be stained a light green color because of the amount of insect feces that are disposed of on the structure itself. Furthermore, San Francisco has also taken initiative by applying some new “anti-pee paint” onto some of its structures, which would splash urine back onto the person’s pants. Even though the paint hasn’t been proven to be one hundred percent effective, I suspect that this paint will be used extensively in cities and college towns in the near future.

About Nathan Scheer

Nathan Scheer is contributor to The Artoholic and a webmaster for TheArtExperts.org, who is currently studying History and International Studies at Elon University in North Carolina. He has also worked for Rehs Galleries, Inc. and Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., which specialize in 19th and 20th Century European paintings and contemporary academic paintings, respectively, as well as Christie's Rockefeller Center.

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