Terraces in Lower Engadin
17 October 2020
One of the particular agricultural areas in Switzerland is located in Lower Engadin (Unterengadin, canton of Graubünden). Between Ardez and Tschlin there is an area of terraces for agricultural use on the mountain slopes.
People already inhabited this area in 4 500 B.C. Between 2 200 and 2 000 B.C. arable farming was the most important economic activity on the fertile soil along the river Inn.
The steep mountain slopes necessitated the construction of terraces. It is reminiscent of the vineyards of Lavaux. It took many centuries of ploughing and digging to create the present landscape. The contours are still clearly visible, although arable farming gave way to pasture or no longer cultivated land after 1945.
This development has again benefited the flora and fauna of the area. Because this area is also one of the driest in Switzerland, water channels and irrigation systems with a length of around 100 kilometers have been developed since 1 300. These have not been preserved, but are sometimes still recognisable in the soil.
In Tschlin (www.proterrae.ch) there is a project to install replicas of these (wooden) water channels and irrigation systems.