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Coordinates: 47°16′55″N 9°24′29″E / 47.282°N 9.408°E / 47.282; 9.408


Wildkirchli is the name of a system of three caves in the Alpstein massif of Appenzell, Switzerland. They are notable for the traces of paleolithic (Neanderthals) habitation discovered in 1940 by Emil Bächler (1868–1950), dating to ca. 50,000 to 30,000 BP. Even earlier are remnants of cave bears found in the caves, dating to ca. 90,000 BP. The hermit hut houses a large bear skeleton found in the caves on site.

The caves were inhabited by hermits from 1658 to 1853. The last hermit resident fell to his death on the mountain in the mid-1800s, and the hermitage remained vacant until it was renovated to a museum in 1972.

Today, the caves are a tourist site. They can be easily accessed on foot via a short trail down from the cable car station at Ebenalp.


  • E. Bächler, Das alpine Paläolithikum der Schweiz im W., Drachenloch und Wildenmannlisloch, 1940.
  • E. Schmid, «Zum Besuch der Wildkirchli-Höhlen», in Mitteilungsblatt der Schweizerischen Geschichte für Ur- und Frühgeschichte 8, 1977, 2-12.

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