© Panorama of Gosau in Winter (Photo: www.360perspektiven.at)
Panorama of Gosau in Winter (Photo: www.360perspektiven.at)

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Bone House in the St. Michaels Chapel

Hallstatt, Oberösterreich , Österreich

The Bone House is located in the historical city center, at one of the most beautiful vantage points in Hallstatt. The traditional Bone House from the 12th century in the St. Michaels Chapel is one of the most interesting sights in the World Heritage town of Hallstatt.

Steeped in history

The Bone House of Hallstatt in the Holiday Region Dachstein Salzkammergut has been in existence since the 12th century. Kept in here, are 1200 human skulls. 610 of them have been hand-painted and arranged according to individual family groups. The dates of death marked on them. The tradition of recording and painting goes back to the year 1720 AD.

The graveyard in Hallstatt is very small and there is no space to make it larger. In former times, cremation was prohibited, and there was a serious lack of room for new graves to be dug. Ten to fifteen years after a burial graves were re-opened, and the skulls and long bones which took up the most space were removed. The skulls were "cleaned" and then left outside under sun and moon until all that remained of these gruesome skulls was a smooth "ivory" surface. Since the graves are decorated with flowers, the skulls were finally symbolically painted with wreaths of flowers. A snake was symbolically painted on the two skulls under the cross, which is considered a symbol of death and sin (Adam and Eve). Above these two skulls, the cross of redemtion.

The Bone House custom lives on

The most recent addition to the Bone House was in 1995 and this skull has been placed to the right of the cross. A woman who had passed away in 1983 stated her personal wish was to have her skull placed in the Bone House.

Those who wish for their skulls to be placed in the Bone House must state this in their will. Ten years after their burial, the skull will be removed from the grave, chemically cleaned and then painted.

To the 360° Tour through Hallstatt ...

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Summer 2020
1st May to 30th September 2020 daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. 

Autumn 2020
1st October to 31st October 2020 daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed on 1st and 2nd November.

Winter 2020
From 4th November
Wednesday to Sunday from 11.30 a. m. - 3.30 p. m.

Accessibility / arrival

by car
parking area on P1, P2 and P3

by train
arriving at "train station Hallstatt", take the ferry to Hallstatt, from the pier you walk 20 minutes

by bus
you arrive at the busterminal „Hallstatt Lahn“, from there it is a five minute walk
Detailed information on the respective train and bus times can be found at https://www.oebb.at/en/ (train) and https://www.postbus.at/en(bus).

  • Parking space: 450
  • Bus parking space: 15
Parking fees

From € 4.00 per hour on Fee of coach € 40.00 per day

Travelling by public transport
Route planner for independent travellers

A visit with an accompanying guide is available as part of a guided tour of Hallstatt. For details please contact the tourist office in Hallstatt. E-mail: hallstatt@dachstein-salzkammergut.at

General price information

Adults: € 1.50
Children: € 0.50

Payment methods
Other payment methods
Cash payment
  • All weather
  • Suitable for groups
  • Suitable for schools
  • Suitable for kids (all ages)
  • Suitable for teenagers
  • Suitable for seniors
  • Suitable for single travelers
  • Suitable for friends
  • Suitable for couples
  • Suitable for children
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
  • Winter

Please get in touch for more information.

In the charnel house

Hear more about this topic! Also in English available!


Bone House in the St. Michaels Chapel
Kirchenweg 40
4830 Hallstatt

+43 6134 8279

Contact person
Mrs Helga Sejka
Katholisches Pfarramt Hallstatt
Kirchenweg 40
4830 Hallstatt

+43 6134 8279

We speak the following languages


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