Charles Giron (1850-1914), Panorama Bundeshaus, 1902, Bern. Photo/Bild: TES.

Crown Witnesses of Switzerland

Myth, legend, historical fact or a combination, William Tell (Wilhelm Tell) and the year 1291 are closely linked to the origins of present-day Switzerland, like Rome cherishes Romulus and Remus and Greece worships the goddess Athens as the founders of the cities.

The mountains the Grosse and the Kleine Mythen, however, are hard granite facts. The Grosse Mythen (1899 m.) is also called the Matterhorn for mountain hikers.

These two peaks in the vicinity of Schwyz are also depicted on the famous panorama of Charles Giron in the Bundeshaus. They occupy a prominent place on the panorama, as a symbol of the beginning of the Eidgenossenschaft.

The Kleine Mythen (1811 m.) is flanked by the Haggenspitz (1761 m.). The Mythen not only form a beautiful mountain landscape and hiking area but are also the silent witnesses of the battle in the thirteenth and fourteenth century between Schwyz and the nearby monastery Einsiedeln, which was supported by Habsburg.

This conflict was not about sovereignty or nation-building, but about local interests: the use of water, pastures, cattle and forest. It led to the legendary battle of Mortgarten in 1315.

The geography (isolated location because of the mountains), inaccessible nature (difficult access for knights on horses) and the use of natural resources are the actual reasons for the slow emergence of the Eidgenossenschaft in Urschweiz in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

The Grosse and Kleine Mythen followed these developments and facts, and they are the crown witnesses.