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The new Felsenwelt in the Glacier Garden is a journey through time

The new Felsenwelt in the Glacier Garden is a journey through time
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After three years of construction, the Lucerne Glacier Garden will open the Felsenwelt as a new attraction for the public on Friday, July 16 at 1 pm. The underground tour and ascent to the newly developed Park is a spectacular museum extension through the mountain. A trip to the popular Lucerne Museum becomes a completely new overall experience. Scientific insights are ideally combined with sensual experiences in the museum ensemble. A visit to the Glacier Garden is a journey through time to the wonders of geology and nature, transmitted in the entire garden Park, and to be discovered.

For three years, the Glacier Garden Lucerne was full of space-consuming, noisy construction machinery. Blasting, demolition, construction, and planting took place in a very confined space. Except for the completion of the Sandstone Pavilion for exhibitions, construction activity is now coming to an end. The Glacier Garden will open Felsenwelt to the public at 1 p.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021. The new attraction is an underground tour in the mountain with unique dramaturgy. Geological peculiarities of the Lucerne sandstone, stratifications and fracture systems reveal the primal forces that acted here over millions of years. Subtle illuminations on the rock form images of former landscapes with their flora and fauna. Here, earth history becomes a goose bump moment.

Immerse yourself in times gone by

The adventure of the journey through time starts at the museum entrance. You enter and receive a large-format, historic-looking explorer's map. It shows an overview of the Glacier Garden with all its old and new attractions. The Felsenwelt leads the public out of the park landscape. Those who enter the winding portal leave the daylight behind. Animated light displays lead the way. They reveal phenomena of the earth's history: there are rushing waves and falling leaves. Prehistoric fish scurry by. Galloping mammoths cross the path. In today's reality, they no longer exist. The course of time, however, has captured traces of such witnesses in stone, sometimes next to, sometimes layered on top of each other. It took the mighty forces of our earth's core for millions of years to fold these traces into the alpine rock.

Green oasis in the middle of the city

The gently sloping path leads deep into the mountain into a large cavern. Here, rainwater seeping in from the earth's surface collects and forms a lake. The water reacts upon the arrival of the public. A vortex is created that symbolizes the leap back in time to the present. From here, some steps lead upwards for about 30 meters to the Sommerau. As you climb, new perspectives into the vertical cavern continuously emerge. This part of the Felsenwelt is exposed to the weather. What is bare stone today will develop into a green garden courtyard with algae, mosses, and ferns. The exit leads to a previously inaccessible part on the site. The idyllic Sommerau extends the historic Park. On this rock terrace, guests can enjoy a view over Lucerne to the Alps. The path continues past the observation tower back to the central square between the glacial pots and the museum building. The vegetation combined with playful elements such as the "Schwyzerhüsli”, the waterfall or the observation tower evoke images of the alpine landscape. With the renewed park landscape, the Glacier Garden has created a new oasis in the middle of the city. "The more generous space will delight school classes and families, who will be happy to stay with us for a little longer," says Andreas Burri, director of the Glacier Garden.

Harmonious connection of all areas of experience

The new Felsenwelt is also a masterpiece of architecture. The renowned architectural firm Miller & Maranta from Basel played a decisive role in the development of Felsenwelt. "We were fascinated by the idea of Felsenwelt as a time machine. It adds a new dimension to the overall experience. At the same time, this project made it possible to clarify the situation of the Swiss Chalet by demolishing additions and thus increasing the area of the park," Quintus Miller of Miller & Maranta explained the architectural concept. "This created the possibility of recasting the entire park as a large landscape garden and dividing it into areas that are coherent in terms of content," Miller added. The entire planning and construction process was constructively accompanied and financially supported by the Department for the Preservation of Historical Monuments of the Canton of Lucerne.

Craftsmanship and architecture

New, striking structures complement the existing "follies" in the historic Alpine Park. There is the winding portal to Felsenwelt, cast in artificial stone. The newly designed entrance to the Mirror Maze and the exit from Felsenwelt is pyramid shaped. The filigree pattern in the cast concrete is the result of skillful stonemasonry. In the vertical garden courtyard, bare rock is combined with precisely fitted artificial stone walls and forms.

Amazement and Adventure

"Earth history and nature are the core themes in the Glacier Garden. These aspects dominate many big questions of our time," explains Andreas Burri. "The unifying element in all exhibition areas is the concept of time. Traces of time can be discovered throughout the area, many ancient, others more recent and unmistakably made by us humans. With our new mediation concept, we abolish the chronology of time. In the style of Jules Verne's “Journey to the Center of the Earth”, our guests experience a journey to the center of time," explains Burri. In addition to scientific findings, the Glacier Garden offers sensory experiences at every corner. Inside the Felsenwelt, there's the warmth in winter and the coolness in summer. And why not caress the current ripples on the damp rock faces, while dreaming of the sea or looking for Professor Stein’s Mountain dog Börni, who has a starring role in the new children's quiz? Visitors will experience the Glacier Garden very individually, depending on their knowledge and will to interpret: this way, the almost 150-year-old Glacier Garden remains true to itself, it allows a variety of experiences and impressions, offers postcard motifs and creates personal memories.


Please note the additional information in the appendix. Information and more photos can also be found directly in the media service on the Glacier Garden website.


Further information:

Andreas Burri, Director Glacier Garden Lucerne: 041 410 43 40,

Press Coordination:

Karin Auf der Maur, admind pr Lucerne T +41 76 320 56 62,

Brigitte Heinrich, nettwerk Lucerne: T +41 41 242 08 08,

Gletschergarten Luzern / Glacier Garden Lucerne
Denkmalstrasse 4
CH-6006 Luzern