Anyone travelling from Luzern to Wolhusen cannot possibly miss the impressive monastery on a hill above the road. The former Franciscan Monastery and pilgrimage church characterize this place of pilgrimage on the Route of St James.
A Dutchman panning for gold is said to have had a vision near here in 1500. The chapel constructed thereon (in 1518) was not able to endure the streams of pilgrims and was torn down. One of the miraculous pictures from Frybach, Berne, salvaged prior to the reform, became the foundation for pilgrimages to Werthenstein. Today’s church was built from 1608, followed to 1636 by the building of the Franziscan Monastery, to minister to the flocks of pilgrims. In the pilgrimage heyday during the 17th/18th centuries, several tens of thousands made the pilgrimage to Werthenstein every year - and brought the resort a degree of prosperity. With hikers and pilgrims on the Route of St James using this route, numbers are increasing and Werthenstein is once more a stage stop for pilgrims as well as hikers.
The relative prosperity which came from providing accommodation for pilgrims formed the basis for the fusion of Werthenstein Municipality with its impoverished neighbours Wolhusen-Markt (1854) and Schachen (1889) - the reason why local borders can be confusing. While half of neighbouring Wolhusen belongs to the municipal district of Wertherstein, Werthenstein-Unterdorf belongs to Ruswil. But this need not bother guests or pilgrims a great deal. As well as the pilgrimage church, sightseeing attractions include many other chapels and the wooden bridge built over the Emme in 1710, at the foot of the monastery hill. Werthenstein is also at the gateway to the UNESCO Entlebuch Biosphere.
- Werthenstein Pilgrimage Church - an old and new goal for pilgrims on the Route of St James, on a hill above the valley.