Die Rheinschlucht oder die Ruinaulta. Foto/Photo: TES

The Rhine Gorge or the Ruinaulta

The Rhine Gorge, Rheinschlucht in German or Ruinaulta in Romansh, is a 400-metre-deep and 13-kilometre-long gorge in Graubünden. It dates back to the great landslide of Flims, the so-called Filmserstein-Bergstürz, which took place about 9500 years ago. Since 1977, the Rhine Gorge has been listed in the Federal Inventory of Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance (BLN).

The landslide affected an area between Ilanz and Reichenau. A lake was formed, and the water of the Vorderrhein gradually made its way through the masses of stone and earth.

Numerous small peninsulas, islas, exist in the gorge. They were partly used as pasture, and arable land and settlements arose. The islas also have names: Isletta, Disla-Prau Grond, Isla Sura, Isla Sut, Islas da Bargaus, Isla da Corvs, Islas da Zir, Zir Grond, Zir Pign or Isla Davon.

Initially, the roads for passenger and goods traffic did not run through the gorge but along its edges. They connected Reichenau-Tamins, Trin, Sagogn, Versam, Schluein, Ilanz, Castrisch, Flims and Laax with Chur. With time, however, the gorge was made accessible at several points by roads and bridges.

The Vorderrhein and the Hinterhein near Reichenau-Tamins on their way to Basel and The Netherlands

The Reichenau-Ilanz railway line, opened in 1903, connected several villages, including Versam-Safien, Sagogn, Valendas and Castrisch, with the more distant Disentis-Mustér. New roads and bridges were subsequently built in connection with the construction of the railway and the increase in motor traffic.

Today, with its beautiful landscape and flora, the Rhine Gorge is a nature reserve and a tourism project called “Monumemt Ruinault.

(Source and further information: M. Bundi, La Ruinaulta. Ein kulturthistorisch Handbuch, Chur 2020)