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Oldest wooden house in Europe condemned

The oldest wooden house in Europe will soon be no more Keystone Archive

The oldest wooden house in Europe, constructed in 1176 in canton Schwyz, has been condemned.

This content was published on October 17, 2001 - 12:11

The Swiss Federal Court has rejected an appeal by the Swiss Heritage Society to save the historic property.

The announcement follows a decision by the Schwyz cantonal government in March that only one section of the house would be preserved and turned into a museum.

Under the Schwyz proposal, part of the building would be taken apart, transferred to a different location and rebuilt.

Responding to the federal court's announcement, Philipp Maurer, general secretary of the Swiss Heritage Society, said he was "disappointed by the decision...because the building needs to be placed under the protection of the Confederation."

"We think - and we are not the only ones - that this building is very important," Maurer told swissinfo.

"More than 100 years separates this property from the next oldest house and we have learnt from this building what the art of construction was like in the 12th century," he added.

The federal court confirmed on Wednesday that decisions concerning the preservation of cultural heritage had to be made at a cantonal and not at a national level.

The court said it was forced to throw out the heritage society's appeal because it said it had no legal jurisdiction in the matter and could not overrule the legislative body in Schwyz.

swissinfo with agencies

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