Deceptively Significant: the Bundeskapelle in Brunnen

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Bundeskapelle, Brunnen, Switzerland

From its somewhat dull looking exterior, you’d never guess that the Bundeskapelle in the little lake-side town of Brunnen was the site of a significant moment in Swiss history.

Legend says that back in 1307, the cantons of Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden and Nidwalden came together to take an oath on the Rütli meadow.  The cantons vowed allegiance to each other.  In 1315, at the Battle of Morgarten, they had success against the Habsburg soldiers, and a month later, the Pact of Brunnen was made to renew their allegiance.  In fact this was the beginning of a confederacy, which grew into the Old Swiss Confederacy over the next fifty years.  The Bundeskapelle is said to be on the spot where this treaty was signed.

The Chapel of the Holy Trinity was constructed on the site, but this was burned down during a fire that raged through the village in 1620.  The new chapel was built and given the name Bundeskapelle in memory of the site’s importance for the foundation of the Swiss state.  Since then it’s had a uneventful history, and it was restored in 1990.

So In Summary

The church now is quite plain, and very tranquil.  Clearly it’s not a place that is worthy of a long pilgrimage, unless you’re really into your Swiss history, but if you are in the area, visiting the Victorinox Centre, for example, then do pop in.  When we visited, a few people were at the back praying which is why these pictures are basic and were taken surreptitiously with my phone.  The church is loved and respected – and used – which is not something you can say about a lot of churches these days.

Further Information

The church has a page on a website for the parish churches of Ingelbohl-Brunnen, and it’s in German only:

How To Get There

Brunnen is teeny-tiny!  You’ll see it!


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