Panixer stuwdam, rechts het monumentale fresco van de kunstenaar Martin Valär. Foto: Alex Winiger 2009.

General Alexander Suworow in Pigniu

After Napoleon had occupied the Confederation in 1798 and proclaimed the Helvetic Republic (1798-1803), Austrian and Russian troops (the so-called Second Coalition) invaded this area.

After these troops had been defeated near Zurich (25-26 September 1799), the Russian General Alexander Suvorov (1730-1800) led his troops over seven mountain passes back to Austria and from there to Russia (ruled by Tsar Pavel Petrovich 1754-1801).

His crossing of the high Panixer Pass (2 407 M.)s legendary. This pass is the connecting route between the cantons of Glarus (and the village of Elm in the Sernftal) and Graubünden, the Surselva (Pass di Veptga is the Romansh name for the pass).

The General and his army spent the night from 6 to 7 October 1799 in Pigniu, a village of seventy inhabitants in the Vorderrhein Valley. Many soldiers did not survive, but the General was not defeated. However, he died soon afterwards in his Russian homeland.

Several monuments commemorate this event. The fresco on the Panixer dam by Martin Valär. is the most impressive memorial.

(Source and further information: Suworow Museum,