Famous Einsiedeln statue gets dressed up

One of Switzerland’s most visited shrines, the Black Madonna of Einsiedeln, is also one of the best dressed and could give her popstar namesake a run for her money. (SRF/

This content was published on December 25, 2015

The Black Madonna has graced the chapel of the baroque monastery in Einsiedeln, eastern Switzerland, for some 200 years, attracting pilgrims from all over the world.

She owes her extensive wardrobe to donations from far and wide, some given as thanks by people who believed their prayers were answered after visiting the Madonna.

A book entitled “Madonna’s Fashion” has now been published. The author is the Benedictine monk Gerold Zenoni, who is also responsible for changing the Black Madonna’s broidered clothes roughly every two weeks, choosing from the 30 dresses from the Madonna’s wardrobe.

The Black Madonna is part of the monastery of Einsiedeln, which is more than 1,000 years old. The sculpture was created by an unknown artist and destroyed in 1798 by French invaders. It was rebuilt in 1817 and turned black through dust and soot from the burning of incense, oil and candles.

Every year the monastery is visited by up to one million pilgrims from all over the world.

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