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Snow covered landscape with mountain range and winding road, on cover of 'Alpine Passes of Switzerland, Journey to Modernity', by Scheidegger & Spiess.

Alpine Passes of Switzerland

Journey to Modernity

Edited by Richard von Tscharner
Contributions by Frédéric Möri
Contributions by Daniel Lätsch
Contributions by Anton Affentranger
Foreword by Doris Leuthard
By (photographer) Richard von Tscharner


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  • A beautifully illustrated book for anyone with an interest in Switzerland and the fascinating history and present of the country’s Alpine passes and transit infrastructure
  • Features newly taken large-format colour and black-and-white photographs as well as historic images and maps
  • Essays illuminate the cultural, military, economic, and social history and importance of Switzerland’s Alpine passes
Full Description

For centuries, the Alps were an almost insurmountable barrier on the way from Europe’s north to the south, and vice versa. The Romans replaced some of the ancient narrow transalpine mule tracks with their famous roadways. Paved roads were introduced in the 19th century, soon followed by railroads with impressive bridges, viaducts, and tunnels. Today, 120 safe and comfortable highways and roads, as well as high-capacity railroad lines, serve as indispensable transit routes for Europe’s people and economies. Without these passages, Switzerland would be an entirely different country: socially, culturally, economically, and militarily.
Through some 80 large-format colour and black-and-white images, Alpine Passes of Switzerland demonstrates the boldness of the country’s modern Alpine crossings, their infrastructure and beautiful landscapes. Additional historic photographs convey earlier generations’ courage and pioneering efforts to build the roads and railtracks that connect Europe’s nations. Supplementary essays trace the history of the Alpine passes and highlight their significance for Swiss national identity, explain their military importance, and describe the vision that preceded the construction of new base tunnels across the St. Gotthard and Lötschberg massifs between 1994 and 2016: the future of rail transit across the Alps lies deep underground.

About the Author

Richard von Tscharner, born in 1947, has made a 34-year career in Swiss private banking. Now based in Switzerland and Dubai, he has been working as a freelance photographer since 2007, with a special interest in landscape photography.

Scheidegger & Spiess
10th Nov 2023
World excluding Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, United States, Canada, and Japan
320 mm x 320 mm
264 Pages
50 color, 74 b&w
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