The Chapel of Our Lady represents the heart of the Einsiedeln place of pilgrimage. People from all over the world pray here to the Black Madonna.
On entering Einsiedeln Monastery abbey, you find yourself opposite the Chapel of Our Lady fashioned from black marble. It occupies the place where St. Meinrad lived. Built in the 1st century as a "chapel of hermits" (Einsiedler means hermit in German), legend has it that it was consecrated by angels. Over time, the figure of Mary, Mother of God ("Our Lady") became an ever stronger point of attraction. The present late Gothic holy image of Our Lady of Einsiedeln found its way into the chapel following a fire in the 15th century. Over the centuries, dust and soot from candles, oil lamps and incense blackened the lime wood figure, until finally in 1803 the face and hands were painted over with black paint
Very early on, Mary and the baby Jesus were draped in textiles that left only their faces and hands exposed. Today they possess a handsome wardrobe with splendid garments and ornaments. They are dressed according to the religious feast of the day.
The chapel has burned down several times; it was also destroyed during the French Revolution, but the most valuable parts could be saved from the plundering soldiers. This included the Black Madonna. The chapel was rebuilt in the Classicist style between 1815 to 1817 using demolition material: this is what the visitor admires today.
|Easter to All Saints' Day: 6 a.m.-9 p.m.|
|All Saints' Day to Easter: 6 a.m.-8.30 p.m.|