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Post 8. Parish Church of Sainte-Anne

The Church of Ayer, consecrated in 1920, is dedicated to Sainte-Anne, patron saint of the village. The parish of Ayer along with that of Zinal was founded ten years later, in 1930. The home and office of the parish priest, built in the late nineteenth century, is older than the church itself.

The church’s history began in 1915, when the inhabitants of Ayer founded an association for the construction and the creation of a rectory. The desire to separate from the parish of Vissoie was criticized by part of the population, which judged this undertaking too ambitious, especially with the war at the gates of Confederation. Finally, the church was built, after many financial difficulties that forced the initiators to use a lottery to ensure completion.

The church was built using a system of “chores” ( corvées ) of the inhabitants, who worked for free on Saturdays and Sundays, between 1916 and 1920.

From an architectural point of view, the church of Ayer is relatively simple, like many Valais churches, built during the same period by the Kalbermatten architectural firm. It is inspired of the “Swiss national style” ( Heimatstil ).

The Florentine painter Alfredo Cini ( 1887-1970 ) painted several frescoes on the outside and inside ( the choir arc ) of the church in 1949. The choir’s sculptures are the work of a German artist, then living in Ayer : Bernhard Hubert.

Before you go to the next location, look at the cemetery.

The tombs are largely identical, a way to show that human beings are equal in death.

Formerly, the wake and funeral meals were very important for the repose of the soul of the deceased. As soon as a person was married, wine and cheese were laid aside for the funeral.

In the popular imagination, there are many ghost stories related to cemeteries. It is said that one night a year, “the night of the four times”, the souls of the dead go in procession to the glacier where they stay for a while, before reinvesting the place where they lived before they died.

A plaque dedicated to the German climber Georg Winkler, was placed near the church after his remains were found by climbers at the foot of the Weisshorn glacier in 1956. He had disappeared in 1888, at the age of 19, when he tried to climb the Weisshorn alone.

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Follow the path next to the side of the cemetery to the main road. Go along the road in the direction of Vissoie, until you reach the bread oven.

Useful documents


Post 8. Parish Church of Sainte-Anne
3961 Ayer
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