Period IV

Mulegns, Die Weisse Villa/Posthotel Löwen. Bild/Photo: TES.

No mountain too high

Swiss people may not be able to move mountains, but they can build the largest (railway) road network and the longest tunnels in the mountains. The Gotthard base tunnel is a recent example (although Germany and Italy did not fulfil their (contractual) obligations). Less well known, however, are other noteworthy projects that are starting at a local level. The Fondation Origen (www.origen.ch) is an example. The Fondation, founded in Riom (in the canton of Graubünden in Oberhalbstein or Surses in the Romanish language (Surmeirisch/Surmiran dialect), has already realised various cultural-historical projects in this region. The theatre on the Julier Pass (the Julierturm) is probably the best-known project. However, the project to preserve a villa in Mulegns is remarkable as well. Mulegns is a small village on the road that leads from Tiefencastel via the Julierpass to Oberengadin.

Until the advent of the car and the Postauto, the village was a resting place for carriages, horses and their passengers. The famous Posthotel Löwen is a reminder of this period (in the local history section attention is paid to this story under the title Oberhalbstein or Surses). Traffic increased to such an extent that the road had to be widened and the monumental Villa demolished. However, the Fondation Origin managed to raise millions to move the Villa. The preparatory work is already in full swing, and this year the Villa will get its new place. A Swiss Bottom-up project par excellence. And so there are many in this multicultural and cosmopolitan country. The greatest treasure of the country is the involvement of its citizens, its decentralised structure and its system of direct democracy.