Alpine heritage impressions from a summer in Grisons (Graubünden, Switzerland)

A view to the little medieval church called Sogn Sievi (St. Eusebius), situated by a former castle on top of a small hill at Brigels. Photo: Per Storemyr

A view to the little medieval church called Sogn Sievi (St. Eusebius), situated by a former castle on top of a small hill at Brigels. Photo: Per Storemyr

Grisons – or in German Graubünden – is the largest canton in Switzerland, in the middle of the Alps, bordering Italy and Austria. It is renowned for its magnificent nature and countless medieval castle ruins. But Grisons has a truly varied heritage. Join me on a trip I took with my family this summer and enjoy aspects of its less well-known, but still spectacular nature and cultural heritage!

Traditional lime kiln ("Caltgera") near Brigels. The kiln is one of many in Surselva/Vorderrheintal, some of which have been restored and are open to the public. See interesting article (in German) on historic lime burning at the nature guide (Naturführer) Surselva. Photo: Per Storemyr

Traditional lime kiln (“Caltgera”) near Brigels. The kiln is one of many in Surselva/Vorderrheintal, some of which have been restored and are open to the public. See interesting article (in German) on historic lime burning at the nature guide (Naturführer) Surselva. Photo: Per Storemyr

Material for traditional lime burning in Surselva was primarily provided from occurrences of dolomitic lime, in particular cellular dolomite or Rauwacke in German. This is a dolomitic limestone that contains gypsum or anhydrite, which upon dissolution in water leaves a very porous stone. Such stone has properties like tufa and is a renowned building stone. Photo: Per Storemyr

Material for traditional lime burning in Surselva was primarily provided from occurrences of dolomitic lime, in particular cellular dolomite or Rauhwacke in German. This is a dolomitic limestone that contains gypsum or anhydrite, which upon dissolution in water leaves a very porous stone. Such stone has properties like tufa and is a renowned building stone. Photo: Per Storemyr

Surselva is an old mining district. Here is a snapshot from the iron mines at Obersaxen, where exploitation may reach back to the Middle Ages or even the Roman period. More information at the website of the Obersaxen commune. Photo: Per Storemyr

Surselva is an old mining district. Here is a snapshot from the iron mines at Obersaxen, where exploitation may reach back to the Middle Ages or even the Roman period. More information at the website of the Obersaxen commune. Photo: Per Storemyr

Apart from famous Carschenna there are few real rock art sites in Grisons. But there is a wealth of prehistoric sites with cup marks (German: Schalensteine), such as this site called Grep Patnasa by Dardin near Brigels in Surselva. More info at Wikipedia and steinkreis.ch. Photo: Per Storemyr

Apart from famous Carschenna there are few real rock art sites in Grisons. But there is a wealth of prehistoric sites with cup marks (German: Schalensteine), such as this site called Grep Patnasa by Dardin near Brigels in Surselva. More info at Wikipedia and steinkreis.ch. Photo: Per Storemyr

The most spectacular piece of natural heritage in Grisons is Ruinaulta - a gorge through the biggest rock slide in Europe that took place some 10.000 years ago. It dammed the Rhine for a while, and as the dam broke, the river created a magnificent gorge well worth walking through! More info at ruinaulta.ch. Photo: Per Storemyr

The most spectacular piece of natural heritage in Grisons is Ruinaulta – a gorge through the biggest rock slide in Europe that took place some 10.000 years ago. It dammed the Rhine for a while, and as the dam broke, the river created a magnificent gorge well worth walking through! More info at ruinaulta.ch. Photo: Per Storemyr

Castle country Grisons: The tower of the castle at Castelmur by Bondo in Bergell, flanked by the little church Nossa Donna. Though heavily restored, the church reaches back to the early Middle Ages. Photo: Per Storemyr

Castle country Grisons: The tower of the castle at Castelmur by Bondo in Bergell, flanked by the little church Nossa Donna. Though heavily restored, the church reaches back to the early Middle Ages. Photo: Per Storemyr

Bergell is stone country. Of the most impressive use of stone is the traditonal slate roofs, like on the houses here in Soglio, high up at the northern flank of the valley. Photo: Per Storemyr

Bergell is stone country. Of the most impressive use of stone is the traditonal slate roofs, like on the houses here in Soglio, high up at the northern flank of the valley. Photo: Per Storemyr

Climbing an old little slate quarry by Bondo in Bergell. This quarry, in the gneiss of the southern Alps, must have provided stone four houses in nearby Bondo and Promontogno. Photo: Per Storemyr

Climbing an old little slate quarry by Bondo in Bergell. This quarry, in the gneiss of the southern Alps, must have provided stone for houses in nearby Bondo and Promontogno. Photo: Per Storemyr

The entrance to one of the most remarkable museums in Grisons, the Museum Ciäsa Granda in Stampa (Bergell). The portal of the large patrician house from 1581 is made of soapstone, a stone that is common in the southern Alps and which gave rise to both a huge cooking pot industry and decoration at many churches and houses of the wealthy. Photo: Per Storemyr

The entrance to one of the most remarkable museums in Grisons, the Museum Ciäsa Granda in Stampa (Bergell). The portal of the large patrician house from 1581 is made of soapstone, a stone that is common in the southern Alps and which gave rise to both a huge cooking pot industry and decoration at many churches and houses of the wealthy. Photo: Per Storemyr

Reconstructed workshop of traditional manufacture of soapstone cooking pots at the Museum Ciäsa Granda in Stampa (Bergell). The pots were made by turning them on a lathe, which was driven by water power. This technique was so well adapted that it hardly changed after having been introduced in the Roman period. Flanking the central lathe are numerous objects also made from soapstone, such as drinking glasses. Photo: Per Storemyr

Reconstructed workshop of traditional manufacture of soapstone cooking pots at the Museum Ciäsa Granda in Stampa (Bergell). The pots were made by turning them on a lathe, which was driven by water power. This technique was so well adapted that it hardly changed after having been introduced in the Roman period. Flanking the central lathe are numerous objects also made from soapstone, such as drinking glasses. Photo: Per Storemyr

Soapstone lion heads at the Palazzo Salis, a patrician house of the influential Salis family in Soglio. The house was built in the 17th century and is now used as a hotel. Photo: Per Storemyr

Soapstone lion heads at the Palazzo Salis, a patrician house of the influential Salis family in Soglio. The house was built in the 17th century and is now used as a hotel. Photo: Per Storemyr

The church of St. Martin in Zillis is world-renowned for its painted interior roof. But the medieval church also has very beautiful masonry. Generally, the masonry is made from local brownish-grey gneiss, but the windows were decorated by a bluish gneiss variety and crowned by cellular dolomite (Rauwacke) or tufa for the Romanesque arches. Photo: Per Storemyr

The church of St. Martin in Zillis is world-renowned for its painted interior roof. But the medieval church also has very beautiful masonry. Generally, the masonry is made from local brownish-grey gneiss, but the windows were decorated by a bluish gneiss variety and crowned by cellular dolomite (Rauwacke) or tufa for the Romanesque arches. Photo: Per Storemyr

Lago di Saoseo in Val di Campo. The last picture from a crystal-blue little lake in one of the most beautiful valleys in Grisons: Poschiavo. Trekking is easy and you eat, drink and sleep well at Rifugio Saoseo! Photo: Per Storemyr

Lago di Saoseo in Val di Campo. The last picture from a crystal-blue little lake in one of the most beautiful valleys in Grisons: Poschiavo. Trekking is easy and you eat, drink and sleep well at Rifugio Saoseo! Photo: Per Storemyr

Graubünden map

About Per Storemyr

I work with the archaeology of old stone quarries, monuments and rock art. And try to figure out how they can be preserved. For us - and those after us. For the joy of old stone!
This entry was posted in Archaeology, Old mines, Old quarries, Rock art, Ruins, Switzerland and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Alpine heritage impressions from a summer in Grisons (Graubünden, Switzerland)

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