Walking Through Balzers, Liechtenstein

Balzers, Liechtenstein
Clouds playing with the mountaintops in Balzers, Liechtenstein

The proof of continuous settlement in Balzers can be found from the early Stone Age (about 3000 B.C.), to the modern day.

Historically, the present-day form of the village consists of two different villages, the actual Balzers in the east and Mäls in the west. Not visible to the unaware, the division still persists in the local village culture, where it manifests in half-serious local competition. Some customs, such as the “Funken” a springtime ritual with pre-Christian origins involving a huge bonfire, are still being practised by each separately. The two parts were first mentioned in 842 as Palazole.

Balzers, Liechtenstein
Pleasant suburban neighborhood in Balzers, Liechtenstein.

In the northern part of the village archaeologists found the foundations of Roman buildings in 1933 and 1967. The finds included sixty Roman coins (from 46-42 B.C.) that point to the Roman rule of Balzers, highlighting the history of the twin villages of Balzers and Mäls, where the Rätische Mäls is the older of the ‘twins’. While “Meilis”, as Mäls is called in the Rätic language, cannot so far be interpreted etymologically, the name Balzers (Palazoles) can be linked with the Latin “palatium” (Lordship, Pfalz).

Balzers, Liechtenstein
Crosswalk in Balzers, Liechtenstein.

Since subjecting the Rätians (15 B.C.) to the “Imperium Romanum” the location as a “village on the Knights road” has shaped the Balzner history, since the road led across the alpine Julier and Spluegen passes along the mountain-slope through the village. Balzers experienced rapid development in the twentieth century – a testament to the continued importance of its location.

Balzers, Liechtenstein
Blooming bush in Balzers, Liechtenstein.

The archaeological finds of 1934 at the south foot of the Gutenberg castle hill provided the most southerly discovery of the “Rössener culture.” Early and the late Bronze Age remains have also been found around Gutenberg.

Balzers is the home of the Burg Gutenberg, a 12th-century castle which is located on a rocky hill in the center of the town.

Balzers, Liechtenstein
Thanks for visiting Balzers, Liechtenstein with me!

Whilst it only has 4,368 inhabitants, the village has seen a rapid industrialisation. Balzers is the southernmost village in Liechtenstein and is approximately 472 m above sea level with an area of 19.6 square km. With its important and interesting historical past, the village has felt obliged to continue to care for its environment. The village council therefore promises that each inhabitant is ensured a healthy life in a beautiful environment. Source: Wikipedia and About Liechtenstein.

View From Mürren

 

Mürren is a traditional Walser mountain village in Bernese Highlands, Switzerland, at an elevation of 1,638 metres (5,374 ft) above sea level and unreachable by public road. Tourism is popular through the summer and winter; the village features a view of the three towering mountains: Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. Mürren has a population of just 450, but has 2,000 hotel beds.

Mürren has its own school and two churches, one Reformed and one Roman Catholic. Source: Wikipedia.

The Bessières Bridge

While in Lausanne, Switzerland, this summer, I enjoyed the views and photographic opportunities that the Bessières Bridge gave me. It didn’t hurt that the weather was beautiful at the time.

Pont Bessieres, Lausanne, Switzerland.
The architectural structure of Pont Bessieres can be well seen from this viewpoint.

The Bessières Bridge, the furthest upstream of the three bridges on the Flon Valley, was built from 1908 to 1910 and connects the City hill, the cantonal administrative centre, to Rue Caroline and the city’s eastern neighbourhoods. The construction of a bridge in this area had been discussed for decades.

Pont Bessieres, Lausanne, Switzerland.
The side of Pont Bessieres, Lausanne.

In 1839, the initial plan was for a suspension bridge. The banker and jeweller Charles Bessières donated 500,000 francs in 1901, and his brother Victor donated 50,000 francs in 1908 so that the work could finally begin.

Pont Bessieres, Lausanne, Switzerland.
View towards the Cathedral from Pont Bessieres, Lausanne.

In 1899, a contest awarded the work to the architect Eugène Jost. His plan featured neo-medieval turrets similar to the Cathedral at the entrances to the bridge, but it was then determined that they would be too costly. The bridge was finally adorned with 11-metre high obelisks and given a Louis 16th style to match the old neoclassical hospital nearby.

Pont Bessieres, Lausanne, Switzerland.
View of Lausanne from Pont Bessieres.

The deck has a metal arch with an 80-metre opening that leads to two stone arches. Its total length is 120 metres. As of 2008, the Bessières Bridge is home to an m2 metro station. Source: lausanne.ch

Pont Bessieres, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Early summer day on the Pont Bessieres in Lausanne.