The Old Arsenal Museum
Zeughausplatz 1, 4500
Guns and their accessories - heavy machine-guns - ammunition - military engineering tools
Small fire arms (rifles, pistols and revolvers) - modern machine-guns - weapons (swords and sabres) - musical instruments
Shafted weapons (halberds e.g.) - two-handed swords - armours - Burgundy booty
The Old Arsenal is one of the most prominent buildings in the city of Solothurn. Visitors are repeatedly impressed by its size. Together with the town hall, arsenals represented symbols of power in a city-state of the old Swiss Confederation. For this reason they were often built in extraordinary dimensions. An armour hut and spear house were first mentioned in 1463. In the following century there was a gunsmith foundry, a gunpowder mill as well as an upper and lower arsenal. The one existing today was built between 1609 and 1614. Unlike most other old arsenals of the old Swiss Confederation, which often served as multiple purpose buildings, the Old Arsenal of Solothurn was from the beginning for military purposes only. When the city-state was transformed into a Canton, the Old Arsenal was also put into its care as still the case today. Since the beginning of the 19th Century, besides the regular arsenal affairs, the second floor was available to the public with its immense armour collection, which is still today the centre of attraction and pride of the museum. The building has been declared as an ancient monument of Switzerland for preservation. The Canton of Solothurn had it renovated between 1968 and 1976 when a few changes were made to make it more convenient for visitors enjoying the museum.
Marco A. R. Leutenegger,
March to October:
November to February:
Closed on Mondays, entrance free. Guided tours by appointment. To arrange, contact the Tourist Office or the Museum. Private groups and school classes should contact the Museum to make arrangements.