Ehgraben (Medieval Sewage Ditch) – Zurich, Switzerland - Atlas Obscura

Ehgraben (Medieval Sewage Ditch)

Use a key to unlock this medieval sewer tunnel. 


In medieval Zürich, waste management meant that sewage, trash, and other unwanted materials were dumped into the small alleys, called ehgraben, behind the old town’s houses. Some of that sewage was then flushed into the river, while the more coveted stuff, like urine for tanning and feces for fertilization, was collected, dried, and transported to the surrounding farms and artisans. 

There are still remnants of old Ehgraben around. While some of them have been converted into modern-day sewage tunnels, others have been closed off or filled in permanently. This Ehgraben at Schifflände can still be visited and toured, giving visitors insight into how the city transformed its sewage system over the centuries. Plaques and illustrations along the walk give more information to guests squeezing their way along the old sewer.

Know Before You Go

The Ehgraben at Schifflände requires a key. This key can be requested at the Staathaus security counter "S," which is open every weekday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The key requires a valid ID to be left with the clerk that will be returned to you after handing the key back.

There are other interesting landmarks that can be unlocked with this key, namely the Lindenhof Keller and the  Stadtmauer Keller (city wall cellar) behind Predigerkirche. 

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May 28, 2024

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