Traditions

 

Muerren_Dorffest_Umzug_Trychler_RF_12_02

The original and authentic of this mountain village is not just visible by the character of the houses but it shows in the cultural events throughout the year. Local clubs and associations are engaged in these events and enjoy showing their skills and traditions. Youngsters and parents make music, yodel and dance for the “Heimatabend” during summer season, participate in the parade of the traditional village festival in August and help organizing the two big sports events, the Inferno race in winter and the Inferno triathlon in summer. This personal engagement of the local population gives the events a special atmosphere, makes people from outside feel welcome and tightens the spirit of the local population. For music lovers there is also the Allmendhubel Chilbi in July and the legendary outdoor breakfast parties with live music at Winteregg during summer.

 

The chronicle of Mürren

muerren-wappen

Das Wappen von Mürren

Mürren 1257

Mürren, the “Dorf auf der Mauer” (Village on the Wall) was first docu- mented in 1257. Over the centuries its name has been written in a variety of ways: Montem Murren, Murron, Murn, Mürn, Murne, Myrrhen, and Mürren. It is an old Walser settlement, traces of which can still be detected in some of its buildings and also in the local dialect. It is thought that people from Lötschen in the Valais came over the then negotiable Wetterlücke (gap). In contrast to Wengen, Mürren is one long village along the mountain terrace, with no further villages beyond.

1857-silberhorn

Das Hotel Silberhorn in Mürren

Hotel Silberhorn in Mürren 1857

In 1857, Heinrich von Allmen from Winteregg built the first guest house amidst Mürren’s 35 small sun-darkened farm chalets. In 1858 the modest “Hotel Silberhorn” was opened. Until then, climbers making their way up the Schilthorn could expect only milk or soup and a bed of straw from local farmers.

1870-grandhotelmuerren

Das Grand Hotel und Kurhaus in Mürren

Grandhotel Mürren 1870

In 1870, the industrious tenant of the Hotel Siberhorn, Heinrich von Allmen, built his own hotel, the Hotel Mürren on land in front of the Hotel Silberhorn, which he also later took over. After a number of extensions, the properties were eventually combined and during the 1880’s, as the Grand Hotel and Kurhaus, were developed into a successful and prestigious establishment.

At the turn of the century, the hotel was even awarded a star in the renowned Karl Baedeker Travel Guide.

1872-desalpes

Das Hotel des Alpes auf Mürrens Hehmatten

Hotel des Alpes Mürrens 1872

In 1872, the stately Hotel des Alpes, on the “Hehmatten” in Mürren, opened its doors. In 1884 it was totally destroyed by fire during one of the dreaded Föhn storms, to be rebuilt more comfortably and attractively refurbished as the Grand Hotel des Alpes. Mürren’s “Golden Era” as one of the leading holiday resorts had begun. It became a matter of prestige and part of a romantic way of life to visit Mürren. Noblemen, statesmen, poets, artists and intellectuals sought relaxation and inspiration in the charming village. England’s Sir Henry Lunn and his “Alpine Sports Ltd” acquired the Grand Hotel des Alpes” in 1912 and from then on ran it as the Hotel Palace.

1889-muerrenbahn-bau

Grossen Körpereinsatz erforderte die Anpassung der Trasse an den Berg.

Bau der Mürrenbahn 1889

To reach Mürren, visitors had always had to negotiate the extremely steep footpath from Lauterbrunnen via Gimmelwald. It was decided to make Mürren more easily accessible by the construction of a moun- tain railway. However, when a vote was held on 27 March 1887, only 88 votes were cast for the construction of the railway with 219 against. In the same year, despite the negative attitude of the people of the Lauter- brunnen Valley, the concession to build the railway was granted. In 1889, construction of the Lauterbrunnen-Mürren Mountain Railway began.

1894-roesslitram

Das Rösslitram in Mürren

Rösslitram Mürren 1894

In 1894, with just two tram-cars, the owner of the Grand Hotel & Kurhaus began a horse-drawn tram service from Mürren Mountain Railway Station to the Kurhaus. One tram was covered, seating eight persons and the other was used to transport goods. The horse-drawn tram, with a gauge of only 0.50 metres and a mere 455 metres long was the narrowest and shortest tram service in Switzerland. The tramway was built in Paris, where it had already been in use during the World Exhibition in 1889.

The tram service was in summer operation from 1894 to 1914 and

1923 to 1930, carrying a grand total of some 20’000 passengers.

1912-allmendhubelbahn

Die Allmendhubelbahn

Die Allmendhubelbahn Mürren 1912

The nostalgic Allmendhubel Cable Railway was inaugurated in 1912. Initially it was used only during the winter months, to transport Mürren’s guests to the newly built bob-run at the top of the Allmendhubel (1912m). The SMA (Seilbahn Mürren-Allmendhubel) has a 1.00 m. gauge, travels a distance of 558 metres with a gradient of up to 61%. On 20 January of the same year, the Ski Club Mürren SCM was founded, on the initiative of the mountain guide Johann von Allmen, also known as Roswäg Hansel. The aims of the club were clear and concise – “to further the sport of skiing and to encourage and foster camaraderie!”

1922-arnoldlunn

Arnold Lunn mit seiner “Slalom-Zwiebel”

Sir Arnold Lunn 1922

Alpine skiing has flourished, thanks mainly to the enthusiastic efforts of Sir Arnold Lunn (1888-1974), son of Sir Henry Lunn. Through his initiative and drive, the first English Ski Championships were held in Wengen in 1921. The championships combined a downhill run from the Lauberhorn and a “style” competition. This however, could not establish itself as a sporting discipline.

On 21 January 1922, Sir Arnold Lunn set out the first slalom course (as we know it today) in skiing history, adjacent to the Hotel Jungfrau.

1924-kandaharskiclub

Sir Arnold Lunn und Anthony Angas,

Präsident des “K”

Kandahar Ski Club Mürren 1924

On 30 January 1924, ski-pioneer Sir Arnold Lunn and eight other keen British skiers, including three ladies, formed the Kandahar Ski Club.

Its aims were to further the sports of downhill and slalom skiing and to promote the acceptance of Alpine skiing at international level. The first President was Anthony Angas. The club name was derived from the first “Roberts of Kandahar-Cup” in 1911, which included a ski-race, ice- skating and tobogganing. The nickname of Lord Roberts, “Kandahar” commemorates the victory of a battle in the Afganistan War in 1880. Upon the suggestion of d’Egville, the “K” was chosen as the club emblem and became significant in the sport of Alpine skiing.

The enthusiasm for competition grew and many races were held in Mürren, including the Anglo-Swiss Race in which many members of the “K” Club and the Swiss Academic Ski Club, “SAS” participated.

For many years Mürren hosted the legendary Arlberg-Kandahar Race, a combination of downhill and slalom, which became the model on which other Alpine ski races were based.

1928-inferno-rennen

Gruppenaufnahme von Teilnehmern des ersten Inferno-Rennens (Vierter von links: Arnold Lunn, Mitte unten: d’Egville, Karikaturist und Spassmacher des Kandahar Ski Clubs, genannt “Gummigesicht”)

Inferno-Rennen Mürren 1928

The British sense of humour, love of sporting records and not a little “insanity” all played a part as the course of the first Inferno Race was set out by the Kandahar members, Ford, Mitchell, Richardson, Maitland and Lord Kennworth. On 29 January 1928, eighteen competitors including four ladies entered for the race. Before the Schilthorn Aerial Cableway was opened in 1967, participants first had to make the arduous five hour climb to the summit. A mass start had been planned, but some competitors were still waxing their skis when Arnold Lunn gave the starting signal “Come on, we’re off!”. The race was accompanied by heavy falls with bruises, abrasions and a broken rib.

The winner was Harold Mitchell in 1hr.12 min. In fourth place was Doreen Elliot in 1hr.22 min. despite having stopped to help a fallen competitor.

1937-skiliftmuerren-schiltgrat

Der erste Skilift im Berner Oberland

Skilift Mürren-Schiltgrat 1937

In addition to the mountain railways, there was an ever increasing demand for uphill transport for skiers.

Particularly the British favoured the slower downhill runs with easy ascents – “take it easy” and “down- hill only”!

And so the first ski lift in the Bernese Oberland, the Mürren- Schiltgrat, was constructed in 1937. At that time the masts were built of wood.

1965-eroeffn.schilthornb

Die Schilthorn-Luftseilbahn und der schwierige Bau der Gipfelstation

Schilthorn-Luftseilbahn 1965

Thanks to the initiative of Ernst Feuz from Mürren, a second means of transportation from the Lauterbrunnen Valley to the heights of Mürren was constructed between 1965 and 1967. In 1965 the first three sections of the Schilthorn Aerial Cableway Stechelberg-Mürren-Birg were opened. The fourth and most difficult section from Birg to the Schilthorn summit was finally opened in 1967. The total length is 6970 metres, with an alti- tude difference of 2103 metres.

So Mürren had yet a further fantastic attraction to offer! The Schilthorn, an Alpine paradise long popular for excursions and hiking, could now be easily reached in comfort by many more people.

1968-jamesbond

“James Bond – Im Geheimdienst Ihrer Majestät”

James-Bond 1968

In 1968/69, the Schilthorn mountain, the aerial cableway and the steep, snow-slopes provided the spectacular stage for some of the most thrilling scenes in the James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”

The incomparable scenic setting, stunning views of snowcapped Alpine peaks – some over 4000 metres high – and a modern cableway travelling up to a newly-built revolving restaurant perched high on a mountain summit, led United Artists to choose the Schilthorn for their purposes. From October 1968 to April 1969, a host of helpers transformed the Schilthorn summit into the “Piz Gloria”. A helicopter landing area was also built, one task among hundreds. This exciting film has without doubt helped the Schilthorn become famous throughout the world.

James Bond Mountain