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To survive, you must tell stories…(“,)

The dragon and the Saint: the story of Beatus-Höhlen, a splendid place in Switzerland.

2 min read

The first mentioning of Beatenberg, in Switzerland, was in 1275. The earliest trace of a settlement in this area are dates back in the early medieval graves, just near the Beatushöhlen (Saint Beatus cave). According to legend, Saint Beatus was a Scottish (or maybe Irish) monk living around 100 AD, who was sent to evangelize the Helvetii. After finding success in the Jura Mountains, he moved into the Beatenberg area, where chose the cave in which to spend his pious hermitage. To his annoyance, however, he discovered someone was already living there: an horrible vicious dragon, who shot lasers of fire from his blazing eyes and ate anyone who tried to approach. St.Beatus, however, would not be run out of his cave so easily, and held his cross up to the beast, invoking the Holy Trinity. Thrown into a hysteric fit, the dragon ran down the cliff and threw himself into Lake Thun below, causing the placid clear water to rise and boil. For obvious reasons, the villagers were terrified of the monster, but however no one, before St.Beatus, dared to venture close to the caves. The villagers rejoiced at the victory and St. Beatus became a hero. Christianity spread in Switzerland, and the beast never showed up again. However, the tour guide warning the visitors that the beast could still be in the lake somewhere and might show up to say hello. Clearly it is only a legend, but gives a special character to an already splendid place.

The entrance is one beautiful old fashioned Swiss-style building that serves as the cave entrance clings to a vertical rock face. Surely it’s a unique experience, and visitors can see here one of the most beautiful views of Switzerland. Inside the caves, stalactites and stalagmites await visitors with waterfalls and underground lakes. There is also a diorama of St. Beatus in his cell of the cave. Back in the light of day, it’s possible visit the small museum with cave bear artifacts discovered within Beatus, and a history of the dangers and delights of caving.

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