In the east of Switzerland the magical Engadine is situated, which is considered as one of the highest valleys in Europe. It reaches a length of more than 80 kilometers. The valley, which is divided into Upper and Lower Engadine, is crossed by the Inn and characterized by a wildly romantic landscape. A popular holiday destination in both summer and winter.
The Engadine owes its name to the Inn, which is called “En” in the Rhaeto-Romanic language and springs from the Malojapass. First, it flows through the Upper Engadine, whose high valley has a comparatively low slope and is located at 1800 to 1660 meters above sea level. This changes significantly in the Lower Engadine. This is easily visible because the valley is much narrower and therefore wilder. On approx. 40 kilometers, the difference in altitude is about 500 meters and the Inn rushes through narrow gorges down the valley.
Pictures of mountains and valleys, mystical forests, and natural landscapes. These are the pictures that make us want to recover in peaceful places. No other country as the Switzerland, and no other region as the Engadine is as famous for such impressions.
Out in the wild, stretch out your arms, close your eyes, and adjust your face towards the sun and take a deep breath. The Engadin revitalizes the soul and calms the mind in its very own way.
… and nature
The Swiss stone pines are said to have an important role in the Engadine. They are responsible for the peace and strength in the Engadine. They have been perfectly adapted to the barren soils and are able to withstand cold temperatures. Particularly often, the Swiss pine wood was used for “Engadiner Stuben” because of its homely and calm scent.
When the autumn comes and the larch needles slowly turn yellow, a special season begins in the Engadine. The intense autumn colors fascinate visitors as well as locals, and the steel-blue sky with its incomparable visibility makes you forget everyday stress.
Immediately after discovering the healing springs, the first baths have been built in the Engadine. They played an important role for the advent of tourism in the 19th century and do still attract many visitors from all over the world today.
… and the architecture
The traditional Engadine houses are part of the Engadine too. They give insights into the lifestyle of their inhabitants and tell a piece of the architectural history of the valley. It must had been practical in the past; a large “Sulèr” served as an entrance for both the residents and the hay cart. From the “Sulèr” people reached the “Engadiner Stuben” with a tiled stove. Above there is the bedroom and the kitchen. The external facade of the Engadine house is unique too. Sgraffito, which are a typical characteristic of Engadine houses, are drawn in the facade. The same holds for the oblique recesses of the small face fensters.
… and its language
Rhaeto-Romanic is the fourth national language of Switzerland. In the Engadine the different language groups liaise. In addition to Rhaeto-Romanic, German and Italian are also spoken there. In the more southern regions of the Engadine the Rhaeto-Romanic language is very important, which is deeply rooted in the small Engadine communities.
… und its traditions
«Chalandamarz» in the Rhaeto-Romanic language refers to the beginning of March. On this special day, the end of winter gets rung out with bells and the start of spring gets celebrated. This custom, which is represented in the well-known children’s book «Schellenursli» by Selina Chönz and Alois Carigiet, is practiced in the Engadine, Münstertal, Bergell, Puschlav, Misox, Oberhalbstein and Albulatal. Its participation varies from village to village. In the early morning, schoolchildren in traditional blouses, pointed caps, and costumes pull bells and whips around the wells, from house to house singing «Chalandamarz» songs.