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History of Zermatt

Until the year 1500 A.D. the history of Zermatt is shrouded in darkness.

Roman coins found on the Theodul Pass, however, prove that the Theodul Pass served the Romans as a means of access and a military highway to Gaul and Helvetia between 200 and 400 B.C. A hundred years after the birth of Christ the people of Zermatt lived in scattered pleasant houses clustered round what is today the site of Zermatt.

The first document mentioning Zermatt with the initial name “Protobornum” originates from 1280. The old seal of the municipality also bears a similar inscription: Vallis Prato Borni” whose equivalent translation leads to today’s name “Zermatt”, which was first discovered on a map dated 1495.

The valley of Zermatt had always been under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Sion, who transferred or leased his rights to various worldly barons (von Raron, von Thurn and Blandrati, Dukes of Savoy, 13th century).

In the course of time the people of Zermatt bought their freedom with money, paying for it in an old Swiss currency called “Mörserpfund”.

The tourism in Zermatt started in 1820. In 1838 vicar Ruden encouraged Dr. Josef Lauber, surgeon, to open the first inn with three beds under the name “Hotel Cervin” (later Monte Rosa).

Zermatt – the village without car. The idyllic village under the Matterhorn has become one of the most renowned summer-and winter resorts. In the whole village, there are no motor-driven cars. Horse drawn sleighs and carriage, as well as electric cars, are the only means of transportation holidays. This alone is one of the best prerequisites for restful and enjoyable holidays. With the advantage of its southern position, yet protected against wind and with excellent snow conditions always. Zermatt is famous for having the longest skiing season in the alps.

Hearing the name of Zermatt immediately means thinking of the Matterhorn, unforgettable and fascinating for everybody who sees it once.
The Matterhorn, this unique and most beautiful mountain of the alps is truly a magnificent monument of nature. 

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