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Monument

Ossuary

  • Naters
The ossuary in Naters dates back to 1514 and was built by the well-known sacred architect Ulrich Ruffiner. Its main purpose is to store the bones of the long-dead whose graves have been dug up. 
The upper floor is still used today for the laying out of the deceased before they are buried.

Federal monument protection

The ossuary is a federally listed building and was gently renovated between 1985-1988 on the principle that various subsequent alterations were restored to their original state.
The impressive wall of skulls consists mainly of bones from the old cemetery, which was laid out around the church until 1869. Individual skulls bear the names of the deceased, and many a native still knows where the skull of his or her ancestor can be found. Calculations suggest that there are about 31,000 skulls in the ossuary, of which 1,857 are visible at the front. This huge number surprised even experts. 

Protected from theft

To counteract the theft of the skulls, the opening towards the north was closed with bars.

The inscription "What you are, we were / What we are, you will become" is intended to remind believers of the transience of earthly existence.

Location

Ossuary
3904 Naters
Schweiz

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