Interesting facts 

What an extraordinary Treasure the Lower Grindelwald Glacier released twice

The story of the enchanted Sleeping Beauty, waken up by kisses of the prince after 100 years of sleep, is known to everyone. Something similar in a slightly different form happened in Grindelwald. But here no princess was sleeping behind rose tendrils, but treasures of extraordinary value and beauty under thick ice masses. 

 

In the 18th century, narrow layers and nests of variedly colored marbles were discovered near the lower Grindelwald glacier. Since the European city aristocracy and the 18th century bourgeoisie were eager to equip their houses with marble, the material was quarried intensively. Its color and structure were ideally suited to people’s taste of the late baroque. Marble emerged at this time in various forms, as chimney bordering, columns or richly ornamented pieces of furniture. The Funk workshop in Bern is inseparably connected to the marble from Grindelwald. Here, the material was further processed to remarkable luxury articles. 

However, the excavation was only possible for about 20 years, since the Lower Grindelwald glacier advanced quickly after 1760, and buried the already marked marble blocks under the ice masses. The quarry seems to have been completely forgotten for a hundred years. In other words, it lay in a deep sleep. In any case, the astonishment was great when the glacier retreated in 1865, and freed marked and hewn marble blocks rounded and polished by the ice. The mining of the marble was resumed after the rediscovery. In the second half of the 19th century marble from Grindelwald was used to build the Federal Parliament Building and the University in Bern. The competitors from more accessible quarries in the Valais and abroad were more harmful for the local mining localities than the glacier. At the beginning of the 20th century the mining was ceased. Today the quarry is open to the public; it is situated near the Restaurant Marmorbruch on a hill over the estuary of the mouth of the Lower Grindelwald glacier's gorge.

In addition, some of the objects created in the factory Funk can be admired in museums or public buildings.