The Mountains of Saas-Fee
18 August 2020
The highest mountain peak entirely on Swiss territory is not the most famous one. With an altitude of 4545 meters, the Dom is one of the thirteen mountains of more than 4000 meters that surround the village of Saas-Fee in the canton of Wallis.
Since the last quarter of the eighteenth century and the end of the seven-year war (1756-1763), the village welcomed more and more (young) English aristocrats on their way to Italy for their Grand Tour.
After the Napoleonic Wars, from 1815 onwards, Romantic painters and writers brought the Alpine landscape to the fore. Tourism developed after 1850, encouraged by railways, better road connections, health care resources and a new industrial upper class.
The first hotels opened around 1860 in Saas-Fee, mainly visited by British and German tourists. Victorian-style buildings, the 1912 Britannia Hütte in nearby Mattmark and the first ski lifts initiated by the English are the silent witnesses.
The enormous increase in the skiing and winter season from 1930 to 1990 was the next significant growth phase of Saas-Fee.
A railway connection is still lacking, however. The most remote villages were connected to the railway network in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for example, Zermatt in 1891. Saas-Fee only materialised plans, political and financial problems.
Nevertheless, in 2020 Saas-Fee can be mentioned together with Zermatt, Crans-Montana or Verbier. Moreover, the 4027 high Allalinhorn can be reached with only 500 meters of climbing. A Telekabel and train (the Metro Alpin) transport the traveller up to a height of almost 3 500 metres. The remaining 500 metres are a walk (Source and information: www.saas-fee.ch).