History in The Alps: Forcellina and Lunghin Passes

The Forcellina and Lunghin Passes together build a crossroad with the Septimer Pass. The Forcellina Pass starts in the Avers Valley to end north of the culmination point of the Septimer Pass; the Lunghin Pass starts in the Engadin to reach a point slightly more to the north on the same pass. Like the Septimer Pass, they are a paradise for hikers and mountain-bikers.

Forcellina Pass

Santa Claus: Travel in Switzerland

This is the legend of Saint Nicolas (or Santa Claus) as it is told in Switzerland. The legend probably dates from the 11th century, sometime after the worship of Saint Nicolas was introduced into the Holy Roman Empire by Empress Theophanu. She had brought the saint's story and his worship with her from her native Constantinople.



Solothurn, Switzerland's Baroque Jewel

Everybody knows London, where the kings and queens of England were crowned and where the United Kingdom crowns kings and queens to this day. We know Rome where emperors were crowned for a thousand years. Most might know Aachen as the place where the kings of the Eastern Franks were crowned. But do you know Solothurn, where the kings of Burgundy were crowned for over 500 years?


The Athenian Navy Revisited

Good stories bear repeating; Athenian naval history during the Persian and Peloponnese Wars is such a story. John R. Hale is a maritime archaeologist. In his book, he manages to present encyclopaedic knowledge in a riveting ongoing storyline. History doesn't need to be dry and dusty.


The Origins of Santa Claus

Santa Claus, or more properly Saint Nicolas of Myra is one of many early church saints whose legend is better known than any historical facts. As many other saints revered in the Catholic Church, he was moved around in the calendar during the reformation instigated by Martin Luther. The reformers ditched the saints' days and he therefore started to appear on Christmas or New Year instead of December 6. As an early church saint, his devotional day is also strongly rooted in the Orthodox churches of Eastern Europe.


Naga Queen

She came from an exclusive English girls’ school. She traveled and fell in love with the hills on the border of India. Her excellent education and manners destined her to become a guerrilla leader there. She trained British troops in WWII and the Japanese set a price on her head. Her Name was Ursula Graham Bower, also known as the Jungle Queen.


How Migrants Save a Dying Language

Switzerland is a country with four main languages. 75 years ago, Romansh was recognized as the fourth national language by ballot. Since then, it has been declared a dead language many times over. If you visit the Engadin Valley in Grisons, it will show that the language is alive and kicking. It is alive thanks to the children of migrant workers living there.


1,000 Years of Fun at The Fair

Emperors, Kings, and other rulers had the prerogative of granting the right to hold markets and fairs. Markets were regular affairs held on a specific day of the week every week; fairs were intended to be much larger and would be held over several days or even weeks once a year. Both were intended to strengthen local business and provide additional tax income.




Awkward: Gestapo Burial in Berlin Jewish Cemetery

German history researcher Johannes Tuchel made a series of very awkward discoveries. The discoveries shed light on post-war Germany and how it was (not) run by the allies, on the the machinations of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and on what happens when sloppy research replaces real hard graft. Now he did the real hard work and here is what he found.

Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Müller