De Rigi. Foto:

The Royal Rigi

The Royal Rigi (Canton Lucerne) is a holiday and excursion paradise nowadays. It is known, among other things, for the world’s first cogwheel railway (21 May 1871) and today’s mountain railways and aerial cable cars.

The Rigi (1 800 metres) owes its title to Albrecht von Bonstetten (1443-1504). He described the mountain in 1479 as “Regina Montium”, the Queen of the Mountains. Von Bonstetten was a geographer, humanist and dean of Einsiedeln Monastery.

The name Rigi is derived from the Latin word Riga, which means line. Riginen is the geographical name for the upper edge of the mountain. This designation already indicates that the mountain is not steep. The mountain is easily accessible, unlike Mount Pilatus (2 137 metres) on the other side.

Since the thirteenth century and the opening of the St. Gotthard Pass (around 1230), Lucerne was an important trading centre. The mountain lies between and on the edge of the Midlands and the Alps and the North-South trade route.

The mountain had a chapel with a hospice dating from 1689. Due to a recognised miracle, the chapel was also a pilgrimage place—thousands of travellers and pilgrims passed by every year.

The mountain offers a magnificent view of the Alps and the Swiss Plateau on Lake Lucerne. Therefore, it is unsurprising that the Rigi became one of Switzerland’s first tourist attractions in the nineteenth century.

 Hotel Kulm opened in 1816, followed by the spa hotel on Rigi Scheidegg in 1840 and the Grand Hotel Schreiber in 1875. In 2021, the Queen of the Mountains lost none of its appeals.

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