Local History

Göschenen. Photo/Foto: Jan Keckstein, 2004.

The mountain village of Göschenen

The mountain village of Göschenen on the Gotthard Route has made history with the construction of the world’s longest railway tunnel at the time. From the 13th century onwards, the mule track on the St. Gotthard developed into one of the most important European Alpine roads through the railway and later the motorway. History began around 1220-1230. The cantons of Uri and Ticino built a road over the Gotthard. The Gotthard Pass then developed into an (inter)regional connection between Italy in the south and the north of Europe.

From 1830 there were stagecoaches and carts on the pass, and the village of Göschenen was a resting place for travellers and their horses. The first hotels were built, and the village with a few hundred inhabitants grew after 1872 to a village with more than 3,000 inhabitants. The railway tunnel was built between 1872 and 1882, and for the first time, a large number of foreign (mainly Italian) workers had emigrated to Switzerland for work. After the opening of the railway, a regular coach service to Andermatt began for the many tourists. This service was later taken over by car transport and the Postauto. Nowadays, Göschenen is still worth visiting for other reasons as well. The charm of the old village centre and the historical highlights and a tour shows the history of the longest railway tunnel of the 19th century, the development of the Gotthard traffic and the realisation of the Gotthard base tunnel (opening in 2016). (Source and further information: www.goeschenen.ch).