Discover the site
Did you know that there was a proper village in the mountain in the rock face of Naters? The military fortress, in which 200 soldiers could live self-sufficiently for several weeks, was created during the Second World War.
In view of the tense general situation, the federal government decided in 1937 to reinforce the area to stop possible incursions by foreign forces: Fortifications and kilometre-long tunnels were blasted into the mountains on both sides of the Rhone Valley.
Fortifying Naters meant protecting the Swiss Second World War fortification system (réduit), securing the Simplon tunnel and the Simplon pass, and repelling any incursion of enemy troops around and above Brig. The range of the guns covered the entire valley floor and the shells could reach the pass if necessary, while anti-tank guns, machine guns and barrages secured the close defence. Above the fortress, anti-aircraft guns were aimed at the sky.
Fortunately, only shooting exercises took place in the fortress, which was regularly modernised until the end of the 20th century. In 2004, the municipality of Naters bought it from the Swiss Confederation and today it serves as a cultural centre.
Visit the exhibition "Là-haut Da oben. Fortified settlements in the Valais, yesterday and today" at the World Nature Forum Naters. There you can admire a model of the site as well as finds from the archaeological excavations. The exhibition runs from 2 July to 9 September 2021.
Today, the former fortress houses the following facilities:
The Swiss Guard Museum, the Simplon Fortress Museum, the Swiss Radiator Museum and the Culture Rock.
The Guard Museum and the Simplon Fortress Museum are open every Saturday from June to October from 2 to 6 pm.
All year round, groups of 10 or more can book outside opening hours.
The World Nature Forum in Naters is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10.00 to 17.00.
Admission for adults Fr. 18.-; students and AHV (with legi) Fr. 15.-, children from 6 years Fr. 9.-, families Fr. 42.-, free with Raiffeisen card or museum pass.
Access & Contact
The Caverna, the former war fortress of Naters, is located above Naters.
Registration for guided tours and group visits:
Brig Simplon Tourism Office