The Hermitage or Hermit's Den
Completely covered by bark on the outside, this is the home of the hermit, a life size wooden puppet, automated to become almost lifelike.
In 1789, the figure of the hermit which was once in the Gressner Grotto was moved here to its current location. The hermitage originally leant against the rock wall but was built into its current location during the restoration of 1812. The figure of the hermit was reinterpreted at this time, and fitted with automatic parts, which was very unusual at that time. Now the artfully carved figure, made by a clergyman named Aubry of le Noirmont, could greet visitors with a nod of his head, and could move his eyes and raise his arm. The figure that is there today is a careful replica of the old one, which unfortunately became very brittle and broke very easily due to its age. The remains of the old figure have been conserved and are kept by the Arlesheim Council. Thanks to Francois Junod of Sainte-Croix, who built the automations which enable the figure to move, and many other craftsmen, artists and sponsors, the renewed figure of the hermit was returned to his hermitage in a new body in 2014. The current belfry was only put on the roof of the den in 1840, whereas the bell it contains dates back to the beginning of the Ermitage. It bears an inscription dedicated to the woman who built the Ermitage, MARIA ANNA BALBINA CONRADINA VON STAAL ZU SULZ UND BUBENHOF, ANNO 1785.