Gstaad vanaf de Wispile. Foto: TES

The beau monde and the Square

Gstaad is part of the municipality of Saanen (Canton of Bern). The Counts of  Gruyère (Greyerz in german) ruled over an area from the source of the Saane (Sarine in French) to Lake Gruyère (today the canton of Freiburg). Gstaad and Saanen lie on the language border. Rougemont (canton of Vaud) is French-speaking.

The Counts of Gruyère lived beyond their means. It caused the first bankruptcy in 1246. In 1554, things went wrong again, and the Count was again bankrupt

The area was divided between Bern and Freiburg. Bern (Protestant) got Saanen (the Saanenland), and the Pays-d’en Haut, Freiburg (Catholic) acquired the remaining part of the county. The difference between this region’s current Protestant and Catholic parts can be traced back to this division.

The beauty of nature had already been noticed by (English) Grand Tour travellers and German poets and writers in the 18th century. After 1860, tourism increased rapidly and became the main economic activity.

Gstaad Palace

Le Grand Bellevue

The construction of the Montreux-Gstaad railway led to more and more tourists and the Grand Hotels, the Gstaad Palace, Gstaad Bellevue and several spas. The construction of lifts, cable cars and gondolas began after 1935. The main destinations are still the Wispile, the Wasserngrat and the Eggli.

Despite its image of a place to see and to be seen, the village has retained its authenticity. The village square and the chapel (St.-Niklaus Kapelle) from 1402 still present the town’s centuries-old atmosphere.

(Source and further information:

Railway station Basel