The lake of the Schwarzsee (2,552 m) lies right at the foot of the Matterhorn. The Schwarzsee gondola station offers the finest view of the famous Hörnligrat ridge on the Matterhorn, the Hörnli hut and the village of Zermatt way below.

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360° Panorama

The surface of the Schwarzsee (“black lake”) is indeed often very dark, even black. Beside the lake, which lies in a small hollow, stands a chapel dedicated to “Maria zum Schnee” (“Our Lady of the Snows”). According to legend, the chapel has its origins in a promise. Two people from Zermatt had lost their way in the fog near the Theodul Pass. They pledged that if they were saved, they would build a chapel.

Thanks after an ascent of the Matterhorn
To this day, climbers who reach the summit of the Matterhorn visit the chapel afterwards to give thanks for a successful ascent. The trail to the Hörnli hut (Hörnliweg, Nr. 27) leads just above the lake (only for hikers with a sure foot and good head for heights).

  • Annual celebration of the patron, “Maria zum Schnee”, 5 August
  • 5 August: mass at 6am and 8.30am, main mass with choir at 10am
  • 5 August: additional services of the Matterhorn Express to Schwarzsee (on request from the lift company, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG, tel. +41 27 966 01 01)
  • 5 minutes’ walk from the Schwarzsee gondola station
  • In winter, located beside the pistes
  • Interesting geology: the Matterhorn and the African tectonic plate with igneous and sedimentary rocks
  • Photo subject in summer: reflection of the chapel on the dark surface of the lake

“Alpine flowers around Zermatt”, by Hanspeter Steidle, published by edition punktuell, Herisau, 2009. Bilingual German/English, ISBN 978-3-905724-15-8

“The Alps and our Planet – The African Matterhorn: a Geological Story”, by Michel Marthaler, published by Editions L.E.P., 2005, ISBN 978-2-606-01155-0

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