|Location:||Rüttenen, north of Solothurn.|
|Open:||no restrictions |
|Address:||Verenaschlucht, Tel: +41-, Fax: +41-,|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|316-397||according to a legend St. Martin lived here.|
|1442||an eremite in the gorge is first mentioned.|
|1613||Kreuzweg (Way of the Cross) created, the first north of the Alps.|
|1654-1709||Pater Arsenius Sontag lived here.|
|1791||first path through the gorge.|
The Verenaschlucht is not one of those impressive gorges we know so well from Switzerland. It is a rather pleasant valley, with some steep and overhanging limestone cliffs, and a small brook running through. It is a secluded place and definitely a place with a good energy.
Long ago eremites discovered the secluded valley and lived here. According to a legend, Saint Martin lived here from 316 to 397. Even more legendary is Saint Verena, after whom the gorge was named. It is not clear if she ever existed, but again legend tells she lived here. It is said she was from Együt and came here with the Roman legions. Once she was threatened by a flood and she found a small hole in the limestone cliff, big enough to grab it with one hand, This single hold saved her, and it still exists today. Pilgrims put their hand in, which is said to have healing powers.
The first eremite in the gorge, which is mentioned in a document, lived in the gorge in 1442. The place became really popular during the 17th century, when Pater Arsenius Sontag lived here. He created a sort of holy grave and a calvary. There is an eremite in the gorge until today. He lives in a small house dubbed Chnuschperhüüsli and sells different organic products. Chnuschperhüüsli is the house of the witch from a Grimm's Tale, built from gingerbread.
During the centuries various caves and rock shelters were used for human habitation. Two chapels built at the cliff or into a cave still exist. Below the caves is a sort of cavern, cut into the limestone by man, which once was a cave house. One of the chapels is dedicated to St. Verena, and called Verenakapelle (Verena's Chapel). This is the cave chapel, with the altar in a natural cave and the chapel built around. The Martinskapelle (St. Martin's Chapel) on the opposite side of the valley is a normal chapel, but built under an overhanging cliff.