11-APR to JUN Sun, Hol 14-18.
JUL to AUG daily 14-18.
SEP Sun, Hol 14-18.
Maisons des Rochers, 67320 Eschbourg, Tel: +33-388-701959, Fax: +33-388-701848.
Appointments: Tel: +33-388-704230, Tel: +33-388-701763.
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|1958||the last inhabitant, Madame Catherine Ottermann, dies.|
The red sandston cliff face above the small village Graufthal in the Vosges was sculpted by the water of the river which cut the valley into the sedimentary rocks. Depending on the hardness of the rock, some layers were eroded much deeper than others. The result is a number of almost horizontal bands with a single cavern like band right in the middle of the cliff. This natural shelter was used by man for millennia, especially as it is sunny and warm.
During the Middle Ages the dry space was used by the nearby monastery to store goods. Huts and cabins became houses over the centuries, at some point people moved into those houses. They were easy to erect, as a stable roof and back wall already existed. In the 19th century three houses and a match manufacture existed on the band. At one time the cave had 37 inhabitants on limited space, two neigboring families with all together 21 members shared a single kitchen. The cave was the home of the poorest citizens.
Later the number of inhabitants shrank, life in the old houses was uncomfortable, and finally in 1958 the last inhabitant, Madame Catherine Ottermann, died. The houses started to deteriorate, but some years ago some inhabitants of Graufthal, among them the son of the last cave dweller, started to renovate the houses. Today the house is renovated and gives a good impression of daily life in a cave. The rooms are open as a museum and changing exhibtions are made too.