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Seelisberg Youth Hostel

Gadenhaus beim Rütli
Rütliweg 8
6377 Seelisberg (UR)

Simple Swiss_lodge

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History - The house at the Rütli

Just a stone’s throw away from the historically important Rütli Meadow where the original confederates swore their oath of allegiance, overnight accommodation of a special kind is available for hikers on the “Swiss Path” hiking trail created to mark the 700th anniversary of the confederation. What is probably the oldest surviving Gadenhaus in the Canton of Uri dating from 1750, today houses a youth hostel with a total of 25 beds and gives an inkling of the cramped conditions in which people lived in those days.

The Gadenhaus

The term “Gadenhaus” is used to describe an old traditional type of farm house in which the stable, feeding barn and living quarters are all combined under a single roof.

The Gadenhaus near the Rütli lies below the commune of Seelisberg on a slope overlooking Lake Lucerne. Although just a few hundred metres from the church as the crow flies, it is not easily accessible from the village. Today the “Swiss Path” created in 1991 leads from the Treib landing stage in the direction of Rütli Meadow, passing directly by the hostel and linking it into this historic context.

Reflecting the steep topography, the more than 17-meter-wide building has a modest depth of only around 6 metres. It is constructed in the traditional wooden log style and protected against rising damp by a quarrystone base. At the time of its construction in the mid-18th century, the Gadenhaus was divided up into four adjoining sections.

The straw barn formed the first section in the south. The room cuts deeply into the slope at this point and lies around half a metre lower than the rest of the building. Accordingly, the solid base was built above ground floor level on all sides. Straw and wood were stored on the upper floor.

The second section consisted of the largest room space in the building. On the ground floor the stable provided two rows of cattle stalls. Above this was the hay loft or so-called “Obergaden”. Thanks to the slope, the hay could be brought indoors directly via an opening on the uphill side and supplied to the stable via a trapdoor.

The third section, the living quarters, was relatively modest. On the ground floor was a living room with a small tiled stove. The room height was barely over 1.80 metres. From there, a steep staircase led to the bedroom above which was heated by the living room.
The final section was the kitchen at the northern end. It had no upper floor and extended up to the already very low roof. In the back, a door led behind the room into the underground storage chamber.

The youth hostel

In cooperation with the cantonal office for the preservation of cultural property, a conversion concept was implemented which placed great emphasis on retaining the existing structures of the old building. Two underground extensions into the slope at each end of the building produced the urgently needed space for washing facilities and a kitchen. At the same time, they are part of a new retaining wall that reinstated the protection on the uphill side. On the ground floor are the day room, wash room and dining room. The sleeping areas are located on the upper floor with a row of mattress areas. For once, sleeping in multi-bed rooms is no relic of bygone days, but in this plain and simple building, there is no other feasible option.

Seelisberg Youth Hostel today

Seelisberg Youth Hostel today

Living room before the conversion

Living room before the conversion

Dining room

Dining room