Situated inside the heart of Europe, the Swiss canton Grisons, which is also known as Graubünden (German), distinguishes itself from the others. With a surface of about 7’100 square kilometres it is the largest out of 26. However, its population density is the smallest. Its capital Chur, with 32’400 inhabitants and a 12th Century cathedral, constitutes Switzerland’s oldest settlement. Its famous fast train, however, the Bernina-Bahn, actually is the world’s slowest.
Grisons – Swiss canton of superlatives
One could say, it is a canton of superlatives and of contrasts. Besides, it is the only canton of Switzerland in which the three languages German, Rhaeto-Romanic, and Italian coexist. And even though architecture has conquered the archaic, wild scenery inherent in the place, its natural beauty is unique: With 150 valleys, 615 lakes, and 937 peaks, it provides a variety of subjects that flatter both eyes and camera lenses. And if you look for large reservoirs, for ruins and castles, or for the highest situated, most widely stretched concrete bridge ever built – you’ll have to come to Graubünden. Even the Rhine River has its source there.
The inhabitants of Grisons are lucky: Almost a third of its surface is forest, thus, providing a natural shield against avalanches and their effects. Agriculture plays a big role in the canton, and Bünden’s culinary specialties have quite a reputation: Its mineral waters, for example, and their triumphant advance throughout the world; its chestnuts and its fruit; the milk from its cows, 50% of which is used to produce mountain cheese; or its famous wines, such as Blauburgunder and Merlot.
Similarly attractive to jet set tourists as well as to the economical experts of the world is Davos, the highest located vacation- and congress town within Europe. While one group gathers there to indulge in skiing, horse racing and other diversions, the other one holds their annual meetings there. The canton itself has equally inspired artists and writers of different epochs. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, for example, or Friedrich Nietzsche, just to name two. And Johanna Spiri’s bestseller about Heidi, the little girl from the alp, can nowadays be enjoyed as a musical there.