The Hermitage - a place full of secrets
The magical valley behind Arlesheim holds a lot of secrets. With the quiet fish ponds and the castle hill with its caves, it was long ago the ideal place for the creation of a landscape garden. Baroness Balbina von Andlau designed this facility in line with the ideas of Jean Jacques Rousseau. Painters, sculptors and poets took part in the realization of these ideas until the work was completed in 1785.
Some people are now trying to prove that the Graal Castle, in which Parzival and his mother Herzeloide lived, actually once stood in the Hermitage. What is certain is that the cave at the former ‹Rittiplatz› was already inhabited in the Stone Age. Around two thousand finds date back to approximately 12.000 BC. The Schlossberg is said to have been the refuge of St. Odilia, who is also the patron saint of the Arlesheim Cathedral.
If you step into the hermitage at the old prince-bishop’s mill through the rock gate, a rock staircase opens in the entrance grotto. Small false paths tease the surprised walker here. Paths lead past the hermit’s chapel, further on to the rotunda, where the view opens over the entire Birseck to the Landskron ruins. The ‹Temple rustique› invites you to linger. According to the author Blanche Merz, here at the entrance to the ruins of Birseck Castle, there should be an extraordinary place of power. It is so intense that you should pause, but not stay too long.