St. Chrischona an ancient, sacred site
There are many legends that entwine the three churches on the hills around Basle: St. Chrischona, on the west slopes of the Dinkelberg, overlooking Bettingen and Grenzach-Wyhlen; St. Margarethen in Binningen, on the outskirts of Basel; and St. Otillia on the Tüllinger Berg over Lörrach. The three saints are mentioned in the early Christian saga of St. Ursula and eleven thousand virgins who stopped in Basle on their way from Rome to Cologne. It is told that they left the pilgrimage and settled here to live their lives in seclusion as anchoresses. According to another legend the three sisters father, a knight at Schloss Pfeffingen, had murdered their lovers. They retreated as hermits to the three hills, daily signalling their wellbeing to one another, in the morning with bells and in the evening with oil lamps. In 1974 ninety graves were unearthed at St. Chrischona, fifty of them containing children’s bones. After the Reformation this lost popularity as a destination for pilgrims. In 1966 the town of Basle handed the church over to the Evangelical Pilgrims Mission who operate a theological seminary on the adjoining estate.