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Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Montreux is a municipality in the district of Riviera-Pays-d'Enhaut in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland.

It is located on Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps and has a population, as of December 2009,of 24,771 and nearly 90,000 in the agglomeration.
 Lake Geneva from Montreux
The earliest settlement was a Late Bronze Age village at Baugy. Montreux lies on the north east shore of Lake Geneva at the fork in the Roman road from Italy over the Simplon Pass, where the roads to the Roman capital of Aventicum and the road into Gaul through Besançon separated. This made it an important settlement in the Roman era. A Roman villa from the 2nd-4th centuries and a 6th-7th century cemetery have been discovered.
 Montreux and Lake Geneva

In the 12th century, viticulture was introduced to the region, and the sunny slopes of the lake from Lavaux to Montreux became an important wine-growing region. Montreux is first mentioned in 1215 as Mustruel. In 1295, the Bishop of Sion sold the parish of Montreux to Girard of Oron. In 1317, it was split between the Lords of Oron (Le Châtelard) and the Counts of Savoy (Les Planches). A Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit administered estates and a hospital in Montreux starting in about 1309.
 High rise in Montreux

The region was subject to various princes, most notably the princes of Savoy from the south side of the lake. They unified the territory which comprises the present canton of Vaud and were generally popular sovereigns.
 Apartment building in Montreux

After the Burgundian Wars in the 15th century, the Swiss in Bern occupied the region without resistance, an indication of the weakness of the princes of Savoy. Under Bernese rule (1536–1798) it belonged to the bailiwick of Chillon (renamed in 1735 into the bailiwick of Vevey).

The Reformation made the region around Montreux and Vevey an attractive haven for Huguenots from Italy, who brought their artisanal skills and set up workshops and businesses.

The abbey of Les Echarpes was founded in 1626.
Châtelard Castle

In 1798, Napoleon liberated the region from the Bernese. In the 19th century, the tourist industry became a major commercial outlet, with the grand hotels of Montreux attracting the rich and cultured from Europe and America.
 Hôtel Montreux-Palace

Starting in the 19th Century there were three independent municipalities that shared a central authority. This county council was made up of four deputies from Le Châtelard, two from Les Planches and one from Veytaux. The church, the market hall of La Rouvenaz, the secondary school (the building was from 1872 and 1897) and the slaughter-house (1912) were all owned by the county council. Each municipality had its own taxes and a mayor. In 1962, the municipalities of Le Châtelard and Les Planches merged, while Veytaux remained independent.[
 Marché couvert

Heritage sites of national significance
The Audiorama, the Swiss National Audiovisual Museum, Crêtes Castle, Châtelard Castle, the Train Station, the Hôtel Montreux-Palace, the Ile and Villa Salagnon, the Marché couvert, the Palace-Hôtel, the Territet which was formerly the Grand-Hôtel/the Hôtel des Alpes, and the Villa Karma are listed as Swiss heritage site of national significance. The entire urban village of Territet / Veytaux as well as the Caux, Montreux and Villas Dubochet areas are all part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites.
 the Territet which was formerly the Grand-Hôtel/the Hôtel des Alpes
 St. Vincent church in Montreux
 View of Montreux town from Montreux railway station.
Freddie Mercury statue.
 Southwest view over the Lake Geneva from Montreux.
Château de Chillon near Montreux.

Swiss Alps

Satellite image of Switzerland . On the north side of the Alps, the regions located above 2000 m are covered by snow. The canton of Ticino (on the south side) is almost snow-free in early autumn

The Swiss Alps (German: Schweizer Alpen, French: Alpes suisses, Italian: Alpi svizzere, Romansh: Alps svizras) are the portion of the Alps mountain range that lies within Switzerland. Because of their central position within the entire Alpine range, they are also known as the Central Alps. The highest summit in the Swiss Alps is Monte Rosa (4,634 metres (15,202 ft)) near the Swiss-Italian border. The highest mountain which lies entirely on Swiss territory is the Dom (4,545 metres (14,911 ft)). Other main summits can be found in the list of mountains in Switzerland.
Swiss Alps seen from the Swiss Jura

Since the Middle Ages, transit across the Alps played an important role in history. The region north of the St. Gotthard Pass became the nucleus of the Swiss Confederacy in the early 14th century.
 Rhine Gorge in Graubünden
Rhine Gorge in GraubündenThe north side of the Swiss Alps is drained by the Rhone, Rhine and Inn river (which is part of the Danube basin) while the south side is mainly drained by the Ticino river (Po basin). The rivers on the north empty into the Mediterranean, North and Black Sea, on the south the Po empty in the Adriatic Sea. The major triple watersheds in the Alps are located within the country, they are: Piz Lunghin, Witenwasserenstock and Monte Forcola. Between the Witenwasserenstock and Piz Lunghin runs the European Watershed separating the basin of the Atlantic (North Sea) and the Mediterranean Sea (Adriatic and Black Sea). The European watershed lies in fact only partially on the main chain. Switzerland possesses 6% of Europe's fresh water, and is sometimes referred to as the "water tower of Europe".
 The Lac des Dix in Valais
The Lac des Dix in ValaisSince the highest dams are located in Alpine regions, many large mountain lakes are artificial and are used as hydroelectric reservoirs. Some large artificial lakes can be found above 2,300 m, but natural lakes larger than 1 km² are generally below 1,000 m (with the exceptions of lakes in the Engadin such as Lake Sils, and Oeschinen in the Bernese Oberland). The melting of low-altitude glaciers can generate new lakes, such as the 0.25 km² large Triftsee which formed between 2002–2003.
 Lauterbrunnental Valley in the Bernese Alps, a U-shaped valley that resulted from the erosion of glaciers

Climate zones
As the temperature decreases with altitude (0,56°C per 100 metres on yearly average), three different altitudinal zones, each having distinct climate, are found in the Swiss Alps:
 Tree line in the National park
l   Subalpine zone

The Subalpine zone is the region which lies below the tree line. It is the most important region as it is the larger of the three and contains almost all human settlements as well as the productive areas. The forests are mainly composed by conifers above 1,200-1,400 metres, the deciduous tree forest being confined to lower elevations. The upper limit of the Subalpine zone is located at about 1,800 metres on the north side of the Alps and at about 2,000 metres on the south side. It can however differ in some regions such as the Appenzell Alps (1,600 metres) or the Engadin valley (2,300 metres).
 Lyskamm (4,527 m), above the Grenz Glacier
l   Alpine zone
The Alpine zone is situated above the tree line and is clear of trees because of low average temperatures. It contains mostly grass and small plants along with mountain flowers. Below the permafrost limit (at about 2,600 metres), the alpine meadows are often used as pastures. Some villages can still be found on the lowest altitudes such as Riederalp (1,940 m) or Juf (2,130 m). The extend of Alpine zone is limited by the first permanent snow, its altitude greatly vary depending on the location (and orientation), it is comprised between 2,800 and 3,200 metres.
 Glacier 3000
l   Glacial zone
The glacial zone is the area of permanent snow and ice. When the steepness of the slope is not too high it results in an accumulation and compaction of snow, which transforms into ice. The glacier formed then flows down the valley and can reach as far down as 1,500 metres (the Upper Grindelwald Glacier). Where the slopes are too steep, the snow accumulates to form overhanging seracs, which periodically fall off due to the downwards movement of the glacier and cause ice avalanches. The Bernese Alps, Pennine Alps and Mont Blanc Massif contain most of the glaciated areas in the Alps. Except research stations such as the Sphinx Observatory no settlements are to be found in those regions.
Highest ski area in Europe above Zermatt

Travel and tourism
Tourism in the Swiss Alps began with the first ascents of the main peaks of the Alps (Jungfrau in 1811, Piz Bernina in 1850, Monte Rosa in 1855, Matterhorn in 1856, Dom in 1858, Weisshorn in 1861) mostly by British mountain climbers accompanied by the local guides. The construction of facilities for tourists started in the mid nineteenth century with the building of hotels and mountain huts (creation of the Swiss Alpine Club in 1863) and the opening of mountain train lines (Mount Rigi in 1873, Mount Pilatus in 1889, Gornergrat in 1898). The Jungfraubahn opened in 1912; it leads to the highest train station in Europe, the Jungfraujoch.
 Thanks to a car-free policy, Zermatt retains much of its original character

Summer tourism
Switzerland enjoys a 62,000-km network of well-maintained trails, of which 23,000 are located in mountainous areas. Many mountains attract a large number of alpinists from around the world, especially the 4000-metre summits and the great north faces. The large winter resorts are also popular destinations in summer, as most of aerial tramways operate through the year, enabling hikers and mountaineers to reach high altitudes without much effort. The Klein Matterhorn is the highest summit of the European continent to be served by cable car.
 The Glacier Express on the Landwasser Viaduct, Albula Range

Winter tourism
The major destinations for skiing and other winter sports are located in Valais, Bernese Oberland and Graubünden. Some villages are car-free and can be accessed only with public transports such as Riederalp and Bettmeralp. Zermatt and Saas-Fee have both summer ski areas. The most visited places are:
l   Davos - Klosters
l   Zermatt (car-free village)
l   St. Moritz
l   Grindelwald - Mürren - Wengen (car-free villages)
l   Adelboden - Lenk
l   Verbier - Nendaz
l   Gstaad
l   Flims - Laax
l   Lenzerheide - Arosa
l   Crans Montana
Other important destinations on the regional level are Engelberg and Andermatt (Central Switzerland), Leysin (Vaud), Champéry (western Valais) and Samnaun
 Lötschberg line
The Swiss Alps and Switzerland enjoy an extensive transportation network. Every mountain village can be reached by public transport, the main companies are:

l   Federal Railway
l   Rhaetian Railway
l   Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
l   Golden Pass
l   PostBus

Most of mountain regions are within 3 hours travel of Switzerland’s main cities and their respective airport. The Engadin Valley in Graubünden is between 4 to 6 hours away from the large cities; the train journey itself, with the panoramic Glacier Express or Bernina Express, is popular with tourists.

The Engadin Airport near St. Moritz at an altitude of 1,707 metres (5,600 ft) is the highest in Europe.
 The Aiguille d'Argentière above the Saleina Glacier, Mont Blanc Massif

The crossing of the Alps is a key issue at national and international levels, as the European continent is at places divided by the range. Since the beginnings of industrialization Switzerland has improved its transalpine network; it began in 1882, by building the Gotthard Rail Tunnel, followed in 1906 by the Simplon Tunnel and more recently, in 2007, by the Lötschberg Base Tunnel. The 57-km long Gotthard Base Tunnel is slated to be open in 2016, and it will finally provide a direct flat rail link through the Alps.
 Finsteraarhorn, Bernese Alps
 The Grand Combin, Pennine Alps
 The Matterhorn, Pennine Alps
 Morteratsch Glacier and Piz Bernina
 Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, Bernese Alps
Oberaar Glacier, Bernese Alps

 Piz Badile, Bregaglia Range
 Stein Glacier from Susten Pass, Urner Alps
 The Dent Blanche, Pennine Alps
 Piz Roseg and Val Roseg, Bernina Range
 The Weissmies from Hohsaas, Pennine Alps
 Bachalpsee, Bernese Alps
 Jungfraujoch, Bernese Alps
 Summits around the Mattertal, Pennine Alps