The Beinhaus (bone house) in Hallstatt dates back to twelve century AC. There are over 1200 skulls in the charnel, of them 610 have been painted in flowery designs, they are neatly stacked in rows along with next of kin and have the date of decease written on them. Since the cemetery is so small without the possibility to expand and due to the fact that cremations were in former days forbidden there was just not enough space. The graves were opened 10 - 15 years later and the skulls were removed along sometimes with other bones. The skull was cleaned and exposed to the sun and moon light for weeks until they were bleached ivory white. As one would decorate a grave with flowers the skulls were painted symbolically with a crown of flowers. This tradition began in 1720 AD. The last skull to go into the Beinhaus (Bone house) was in 1995. It is directly beside the cross. The woman died 1983; it was her last request to be stored in the Beinhaus (Bone house).
The catholic parish church in Hallstatt is a beautiful gem in the midst of the world cultural heritage village. the small Romantchurch dates back to 1181, its powerful tower dating back to the 12th century bears witness to this fact. Daringly built in the late Gothic times high up on a rock with a steep drop became finally in 1505 the existing church of today. Shortly after the church became the centre of the fight for faith and was, for a while, protestant. It remained however the always a gem in the heart of all the salt miners and wealthy salt mine lords from Salzburg, in the market square or in the yard. Since 1939 the maintenance of this gem has been in the hands of the small church community along with friends and visitors.In the year 2002 the catholic parish church was completely renovated.
The rocky grounds of the parish church became the Hallstatt cemetery. The front is assigned the Evangelist Christians. Following the rules of the cemetery there are no family graves. A grave can be re-occupied after ten years. The dead are buried horizontally; the grave verge covers only a small part of the grave. Above the graves is the sign of Christ, a cross, made of wood or wrought steel.
In the ground floor of the two storied chapel dating back to the 12th century is the Beinhaus (Bone house): an embossed window of the Gothic chapel area in the floor shows a valuable gothic glass painting of Michael with "the scales for the soul". At the east front side stands the baroque Michaels altar, donated in 1612 by the Salt finisher, Eysl. The baroque pulpit at the north wall was removed 1905 from the parish church. The altar at the back originates from the former hospital chapel in the Lahn. (A small close by village): two stone light houses at the village front were originally used at funerals.