Altdorf Tourist Attractions
Altdorf, capital of the canton of Uri, a little town with a long and eventful history, lies 3km/2mi south of the outflow of the Reuss into Lake Uri in a wide plain at the mouth of the Schächen valley; it is the starting-point of the road over the Klausen pass. It is here that William Tell is supposed to have shot at the apple on his son's head. The parish is believed to have been established in the 10th C., although the first appearance of Altdorf in the records is only in 1223. After the struggle to shake off Habsburg rule the place acquired political and economic importance as capital of the territory of Uri, which until 1439 was self-governing in direct subordination to the Emperor.
Of interest in Altdorf are the parish church of St Martin (rebuilt 1801- 10), the Uri Historical Museum (founded 1892), the Suvorov house and the Capuchin friary.
William Tell Monument
In front of the Altdorf Rathaus (Town Hall, 1805-08) and a medieval tower house is the Tell Monument (by Richard Kissling, 1895). To the east is the Tell theater (1925), in which Schiller's "Wilhelm Tell" is performed by Altdorf townspeople.
The Historical Museum, founded in 1892, contains a cultural collection from the Canton of Uri (wooden sculpture, altars, embroidery from the 15th-18th C., costumes).
Interesting sights surrounding Altdorf include Schloss a Pro, Urirostock and Bürglen.
3km/2mi from Altdorf on the road to the Klausen pass is Bürglen (alt. 552 m/ 1,811ft: pop. 3,600), one of the oldest settlements in Uri, built on detritus deposited by the Schächenbach, which here flows into the Reuss. Parish church (1684), with Romanesque crypt and substructure of the tower. Bürglen is supposed to have been the home of the mythical William Tell, whom Schiller's plays made the greatest figure in Swiss legend. The Tell chapel (1582) is said to occupy the site of Tell's house, and a stone cross beside the bridge marks the spot where Tell is traditionally believed to have been drowned while rescuing a child from the Schächenbach in his later years. There is a Tell Museum in a Romanesque tower adjoining the church (opening hours given).
Opening hours: Jun 1 to Oct 15: 9am-12pm, 2pm-6pm
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Transit: Postal bus from Altdorf.
Tell Museum Uri
Contains six centuries worth of material relating to Swiss patriot William Tell.
Address: Postplatz, CH-6463 Bürglen, Switzerland
Opening hours: May 1 to Sep 30: 10am-11:30am, 1:30pm-5pm
Entrance fee in CHF: Family CHF10.00, Adult CHF5.00, Students CHF4.00, Child CHF1.50, Child 8 & under FREE
Guides: Audio-visual presentations available. Guided tour available as optional extra.
Facilities: Gift shop
1.5km/1mi south of Altdorf, on the left bank of the Reuss, is Attinghausen (alt. 469 m/1,539ft; pop. 1,200), with the remains of a castle in which Freiherr von Attinghausen, who features in Schiller's play, died in 1321.
Seedorf - Schloss a Pro
From Altdorf a road runs via Seedorf (alt. 437 m/1,434ft) at the southwest tip of Lake Uri. At the end of the village, directly on the lake, stands the pinnacled Schloss a Pro, which was built for the Knight Jacob (1556-60) of the same name. Nowadays the castle houses the Uri Mineral Museum (slide shows).
14km/9mi south of Isenthal, by way of Erstfeld (alt. 475 m/1,558ft: station on the St Gotthard line), is Amsteg (552 m/1,811ft), a beautifully situated village and summer holiday resort at the mouth of the Maderanertal, here spanned by a 53 m/174ft-high viaduct carrying the St Gotthard railroad; cableway (1,440 m/4,725ft long: seven minutes) up the Arniberg (1,392 m/4,567ft).
A road to the left of Amsteg leads into the Maderanertal, one of the most beautiful of the Alpine valleys, watered by the rushing Kärstelenbach. A steep mountain road, with many bends, climbs (4km/2mi) to Bristen (797 m/2,615ft), from which there is a cableway to the Golzernsee (1,410 m/4,626ft) and a rough track which leads in 2.5 hours up to the magnificently situated Hotel Schweizer Alpenclub (1,354 m/4,442ft), a good base for climbers and hill-walkers (e.g. to the Oberalpstock, (3,330 m/10,926ft); eight-nine hours, with guide).