Local History

Wassen, Gotthardbahn. Photo/Foto: Jan Keckstein/Wikipedia.

Granite in Urner Oberland

The village of Wassen am Gotthard was a quiet village in the nineteenth century. With the construction of the Gotthardrails and its inauguration in 1882, life changed forever. The Antonini quarry not only changed the landscape but also attracted many workers, mainly from Italy. They introduced new customs and traditions, and many remained for good. The village also became a junction in the Gotthard highway. Not only in Wassen, but also in Göschenen, Gurtnellen and other communities in the Urner Oberland stone quarries could be found. The granite is a hard stone, which is suitable for the harshest conditions. There are no dams in Uri and surroundings that are not built with this granite.

The Antonini quarry in Wassen is a unique witness to the heyday of the various quarries in the canton of Uri. The quarry flourished with the construction of the Gotthard railway at the end of the nineteenth century. The Antonini quarry is the only remaining quarry from this period; all the others have been recaptured by nature. The museum shows the life of the stonemasons and entrepreneurs of the time, the techniques and machines and the impressive landscape of the Gottardo hiking trail. At the same time as the quarries, the transport sector in the Urner Oberland also experienced enormous growth. Many products were exported from Wassen far beyond the national borders. The stone from Uri was also used in Basel at the Mittlere Rheinbrücke, in Lucerne at the Gotthard-Bahngebäude, in Bern at the Federal Parliament and in many other places. (source: www.wassen.ch).