Swiss artist Karl Bickel constructed the Paxmal high up over the Walensee lake at Schrina-Hochrugg from 1924 to 1949 using his own labor and funds. It is reminiscent of a house of worship, with a walled courtyard with no roof containing a water pool and a covered “altar” area with a neo-Greek entrance, although it was not designed nor is used as a house of worship.
All the inside walls are adorned by large mosaics celebrating the family, work and old age.
Note that the covered area is very small, it ends right at the wall behind the columns, so you’re out of luck should there be rain. Ceremonies take place in the uncovered courtyard by the water pool.
The site has a unique atmosphere to it, being rather quiet and peaceful, with the Walensee visible down the steep mountainside as well the mountains on the opposite side of the narrow valley. Looking up are the craggy tops of the Churfirsten range.
Directions: I couldn’t locate a map to the site nor find driving directions from my navigator (Schrina-Hochrugg is a geographic spot, not a town), so I had to ask locally. You start from Walenstadt and head for the restaurant Krone there. Take the small road uphill, it’s called Bergstrasse. The road will get narrower and narrower and at some point cars cannot pass each other, so always make a mental note of the last passing point in case you have to back up. The road is steep as well, so it isn’t something for the faint of heart. You won’t any signs to the Paxmal until you’re fairly near. There is a fork at one point, take the road heading towards the Sanatorium (Ruggstrasse). The last couple of hundred meters is not tarred. There is a small parking lot at the end, although if it’s full you will need to head back to park lower down and hike up.
At the top, where the road ends at the car-park, follow the sign indicating Paxmal and you’ll reach after a 5 minute walk. A spot just next to the top parking lot is used by para-gliders to jump off making the road up busier than what would be caused by the tourists to the Paxmal alone.
Looking in the other direction, the Walensee below and mountains beyond
Left-wall mural – The Family
Mural in the covered area
View down from the top parking lot
The Chufirsten high above the Paxmal
Path leading down to the Paxmal
It says all events must be announced, call the number noted