Living in Switzerland (IV): The frontier of civilizations

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European continent on the map from Brussels to Trieste even a line can be drawn with the intersection of the two peoples. This intersection is the core zone with European culture, starting from the Belgian capital of Brussels, Luxembourg connections, through Alsace, along the Rhine, arriving in Basel, Switzerland, and then continue south through Bern, wear along the glaciers in the Alps east Ticino over ridges and valleys Graubünden Engadine, and then connect the Italian South Tyrol, to the southeast reach of the Slovenian border town of Gorizia, finally connecting the Adriatic port city where ya Manchester. This line is what I conceived Brussels - Trieste line, I call it "Germanic - Latin civilization split band" ( the Google the My Maps ).

This line roughly sketched out the Latin and Germanic peoples ethnic boundaries, not only is the boundary Germanic and Latin civilization, but also the most densely populated in Europe, the most historical monuments convergence zone. In central Switzerland, this line has become an important buffer two peoples. In the southeast end of this line, the only European or Germanic, Latin and Slavic three ethnic crossroads - Trieste.

Brussels - Trieste


From northwest to southeast, Brussels is the first big city to bring division, which is located in the middle of Belgium, the Flemish region in the French enclave. Belgium, France and the Netherlands buffer zone north of the Dutch-speaking Flemish region, the southern French-speaking Wallonia, there is a small part of the eastern German population. Brussels is located in the Dutch region, but it is a French city, showing its long cultural integration. Before the rise of English, French has been the lingua franca of the European continent, but Dutch and German and even English is considered to be no culture of language, and a country all in French is a very natural thing, even if it is by the Dutch language siege. The figure is the Grand Place in Brussels.



Along the dividing line between the French and Dutch, with a touch of the split area is next to Luxembourg. Similar and Belgium, Luxembourg is a buffer zone between the empire, which has a large number of Luxembourgish (German dialect) residents, but also the French city of Luxembourg city, visible cultural dominance of the French language. Luxembourg With its crossroads position as the EU and the richest countries within the euro zone.

Luxembourg City


Su Rhine and on the split strap through the Alsace region of France. Alsace was one of the major causes of conflict Germany and France, are alternately occupied countries. For this historical reason, the EU set up a special World War II many of the bodies established in Strasbourg the capital of Alsace (French Strasbourg, German Strassburg). Germany and France's rapprochement is the most important EU political foundation.

Many people know Daudet's "Last Lecture" , tells the story of the German occupation of Alsace, were assimilated German education story. The story is the narrative perspective of the French population, and the fact is that most of the Alsatian dialect-speaking residents of Alsace is a Germanic language, very different with the French. Alsace nationalism and national identities are still controversy spawned Alsace independence movement. The picture below is my 2014 winter in Alsace, the famous town of Colmar (Colmar) captured procession.

Alsace Independent


Continue along the Rhine, to Dadefarui tri-border city of Basel, a German city. City of Basel can be traced back to Roman times, the east of Basel near Augusta Lao Lika Roman Empire important line of defense on the Rhine, it is as a stronghold of the Roman Empire began the conquest of the Gauls and Germans expansion. Basel is always traffic center, because from here, off to the North Rhine and navigation capability greatly enhanced.

As tripoint, Basel has three railway stations, belonging to the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), Deutsche Bahn (DB) and the French National Railways (SNCF). Switzerland and France, where the station stand, located in the south bank of the Rhine, Germany Baden Train Station called, according to the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg name, located in the north shore of the Rhine. The figure is the train station in Basel, Switzerland.

Basel, Switzerland train station

Basel also has a territory of France St. Louis Airport, 名叫巴塞尔 - Mulhouse - Freiburg airport, also known as the European airport (EuroAirport). The airport is only two European airports condominium, set in Switzerland and the French Quarter area within the airport. Before Switzerland joined the Schengen Agreement, the airport has a complex transit area, and there is a direct airport Basel without crossing roads. The airport has three different IATA airport code, respectively, BSL, MLH, and EAP.

Basel - Mulhouse - Freiburg airport

All the way from the Alps to the southeast depth Basel until the Gotthard Pass. Here is the dividing line between Italian and German-speaking area of ​​Switzerland, as well as the Mediterranean climate of the watershed. In 1882, the Swiss repair pass through Gotthard Pass, 15 km-long rail tunnel across the Alps from road is no longer impossible for the county. 2016, a hundred years later, after 17 long years of construction, repair Swiss again through a 57-kilometer Gotthard Base Tunnel .

Engadine valley

Alps along the ridge to the east, is the Grisons Engadine valley. Where the first language is Romansh , Switzerland In addition to German, French, Italian fourth official language. Romansch Although the number is very small, but it is an ancient language, once widespread Alps gorge. And in different German Alps, Romansh is the Latin family scarce remaining in the Alps region. Starting from the Roman Empire conquered Gaul, across the Alps from north to south of Rome gradually nation whose language is popular Latin instead. After the rise of the Germanic people, the residents of the Alps valleys speaking Latin began a thousand years of Germanic. An important clue is not far from Zurich southeast of Lake Walen (walensee), which see the German "lake" means, but walen to modern German welsch homologous ultimately from Proto-Indo-European language of walhaz , meaning is "foreign," "exotic." welsch has also expressed in Swiss German is spoken by people, including French, Italian and Romansch. Today, Valencia is located in Lake unquestionably German-speaking Switzerland, and its name is revealed here in the naming of the Romance language-speaking ethnic group of the land, is perhaps Romansh ancestors.

Turning back to the Engadine valley, to say my favorite views in Switzerland where, no doubt is the Engadine valley. Here in addition to a unique Romansch, as well as the most original ecological scenery of Switzerland. This original ecology from sparsely populated and inaccessible. Trains here is relatively small, and not stop at every station, if you need to get off, as required in the bus, like prior request to stop the press. Below is my Engadine valley mountain town of Guarda photos.

Engadine valley - Guarda

Engadine valley is the largest town in Scuol (Scuol). Scuol is famous for its hot springs, from Roman times, where it already has a spa, it is now a major tourist attraction of the land. The figure is the canyon of Scuol, visited in October 2015 becoming cooler autumn occasion.

Engadine valley - Scuol

South Tyrol

Leave Switzerland from the eastern end of the Engadine valley, into Italy's Bolzano mountains. Bolzano also called South Tyrol, Austria and North Tyrol belong together in the Tyrolean mountains. Residents of South Tyrol is the main German-speaking inhabitants, it was once part of Austria. But after World War I, Austria vanquished the South Tyrol was ceded to Italy. Italy, under the leadership of Mussolini began a resident of South Tyrol German campaign of repression, attempting to Italy of this, but was not very successful. In recent years, South Tyrolean secessionist movement intensified, forcing the Italian had to make concessions and to grant rights to South Tyrol autonomous region.

South Tyrol and Engadine valley adjacent to the scenery is much better. Traveled around Europe, I still feel South Tyrol only be called paradise. Here lake intoxicated meantime, so far aftertaste.

South Tyrol scenery

Gorizia - Nova Gorica

Continue southeast from South Tyrol Alps before the trip departure, arrived in Italy and Slovenia border - Venezia Giulia Region (Venezia Giulia). Venezia Giulia conflict frontline Latinos and Slavs, the Italian border town of Gorizia (Gorizia) and Slovenia Nova Gorica (Nova Gorica) is to be divided into two cities. Gorizia and Nova Gorica at the junction of the outer square Alps from Italy Gorizia see the square opposite the train station is a station in Nova Gorica, Slovenia. Here was the front line of the Cold War, Yugoslavia repaired wall "Little Berlin Wall" in 2007 after Slovenia joined the Schengen Agreement was finally removed. The wall of the city into two Gorizia, Italy belong to the South train station, Gare du Nord belong to Slovenia. The train station was the Austro-Hungarian Empire, outside the Alpine railway (Transalpine Railway) between important sites from Vienna to Trieste, and now as long as a few trains still running.

I visited in March this year when Gorizia, a quiet and peaceful here. If not doing homework beforehand, you may feel humble here, completely unable to imagine I was standing on the front line of the Cold War.

Square outside the Alps

Slovenia border - Italian Alps outside on the square

Gorizia and Nova Gorica name is typically the same name in a different language variants, Italian Gorizia from Slovenian Gorica. Gorica can be divided into gora and -ica, where gora meaning "mountain", -ica Yugoslav language suffix indicating "small", so Gorica's means "the hill." This is a very rare Slavic enter the Latin name of the city, at the junction of the Latin and Slav-Venezia Giulia, Istria (Istria) and Dalmatia (Dalmatia), most of the city names are Latin language as a strong input Slavic.


South along the foothills of the Alps, and finally arrived in the city is the port on the Adriatic Sea - Trieste. Deepest Trieste in the Adriatic, is a natural harbor. Trieste is also worthy of the only European crossroads of Latin, Germanic and Slavic three civilized peoples. It originated in Roman times, it was built after Caesar's conquest in Istria. During the thirteenth century, the Republic of Venice occupied Trieste, and then presented to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire to become the only access to the sea. Between the Austro-Hungarian Empire occupied for centuries, Trieste became a German city, culture closer to Central Europe, the Mediterranean instead. In the outskirts of Trieste, a seaside castle - Miramare. The castle was built in the nineteenth century, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is a palace. No matter the style of the castle interiors or gardens, are exactly like moved here from Vienna, rather than the style of the Adriatic Sea. However, it is really very beautiful, I've been so far still the most beautiful seaside palace.

On the outskirts of Trieste Miramare Castle

After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, World War I, the Italian occupation of Trieste, he began to re-Latinized movement. In fact, only several hundred years, the city is Trieste Germans, Slavs surrounding countryside are Slovenia. Although Mussolini forcibly suppressed Slovenia, did not change the racial makeup of the city outside. The edge of the town of Trieste Villa Opicina and Trieste mountaineering tram connections, charming scenery along the way. However, Villa Opicina is in fact a small town inhabited by Slavs, from its name can be seen. It itself is called Opcina, meaning in Slavic language is the "community", "city."

The latter part of World War II, Yugoslav strongman Tito occupied Trieste opportunity to try to incorporate it into Yugoslavia, on the grounds that most areas are Slavic-speaking population. But it is the Italian city of Trieste for the passage of the language, so after the war the Allies established the Free Territory of Trieste, divided into A, B two districts, each occupied by the Anglo-American and Yugoslavia. Trieste city and area includes the northern zone A, and B, the southern zone. This tension lasted for many years, in 1975, Italy and Yugoslavia signed the secret Treaty of Osimo, finally admitted the fact that occupation. After the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Area B belong to Slovenia and Croatia both countries.

On the outskirts of Trieste Miramare Castle

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