Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Viamala - Graubünden's Deepest Abysses

Once upon a time it was hated. Travelers called this deep ravine in the Hinterrhein Valley the "Bad Path". It was an obstruction on the journey through the Alps. Beautiful, but wild and threatening. And today this is exactly the reason why one travels to the Viamala. Equipped with a treasure card, children between the ages of 7 and 12 can discover the canyon and stories behind it, as well as seek the Viamala treasures!The Viamala is formed by up to 300-meter-high cliffs (Via mala, Rhaeto-Romanic for Bad Path). The Hinterrhein flows through this ravine. Despite its narrowness, in spite of the threat of falling rocks and dangerous waters, the gorge offered even as far back as before the birth of Christ the best access to the Alpine Passes of Spluegen and San Bernardino. Prehistoric cult sites, churches, old bridges and castles bear witness to the past.

Today the wild gorge is no longer the bane of travelers, but a tourist destination in its own right. The muleteer route, starting in Thusis, with its new hanging bridge, a secured descent over 321 staircase steps and the old bridge of 1739, leads hikers deep into the mystical ravine.