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Bone House in the Michaels chapel

Hallstatt, Oberösterreich, Österreich

Visit the Bone House, which is rich in tradition. 

Information to Hallstatts Bone House

Hallstatt's "Bone House" has been in existence since 12 AD. Kept in this charnel house are 1200 human skulls. 610 of them have been hand-painted, have been arranged according to individual family groups, and the dates of death marked on them. The tradition of recording and painting goes back to the year 1720 AD.

The history of the skulls

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 ...

Winter 2019/20
3th November 2019 to 30th April 2020  from Wednesday to Sunday 11:30 am to 3:30 pm.

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.

Accessibility / arrival

For visiting the catholic church you have to walk on the small hill over stonesteps. Arriving there you have the possibility to visit the church, the historic Bone House with over 600 painted skulls and an amazing view over the area and the town.

  • by car: parking area on P1P2 and P3

  • by train (ÖBB): arriving in Hallstatt you take the ferry to Hallstatt, from the pier you walk 5 minutes

  • by bus (Postbus): you arrive directly on the busterminal, from there it is a walk about 15 minutes

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

From € 3.50 per hour 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:

General price information

Adults: € 1.50
Children: € 0.50

Payment methods
  • 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 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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