Europe's oldest barn

These barns were built in the 13th and 14th century. The building on the hiking trail dates back to 1313 and the barn behind it from 1261.

This is the oldest barn in Europe. That’s incredibly impressive, but there's more to it than just its age. It seems that as long as the roof remains intact, larch timber can last for several centuries.

The log construction method is so sturdy that it can withstand anything and this hamlet remained untroubled by even devastating fires and military campaigns. We therefore have in front of us a building that stretches back 750 years to the end of the High Middle Ages and the beginning of the Late Middle Ages, a time from which there are hardly surviving documents about Zermatt. We only know that at that time, around 1260, this area was already settled and farmed and that farmers wanted to grow their own grain.

The barn in particular shows that grain was cultivated at that time; it was a key source of food and so farmers constructed buildings, the barns, that supported its cultivation. After storing the harvested grain in the barn, it was then separated from the chaff in the process known as threshing. It was then stored in a granary to be taken later to the mill, where the flour was baked into long-lasting rye bread, which became a kind of symbol for the Valais.

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