Chur Tourist Attractions
Chur, capital of the Grisons canton and oldest town in Switzerland, has developed into a considerable intellectual and cultural attraction thanks to its excellent strategic situation at the end of some of the most important passes through the Alps and also its mild climate.
The town, known in Romansch as Cuera or Cuoira, grew up around the episcopal residence of the bishops of Chur (who are first mentioned in the records in 452), and became an important staging-point on the trade routes through the Alps. It is also the terminus of international railroad lines and the starting-point of the Rhätische Bahn (narrow gauge) to St Moritz, the Chur-Arosa line and the "Glacier Express" to Zermatt, the Bernina-Express to Tirano (Italy) and the Furka-Oberalp line to Brig. There is a postal bus service from Chur via Lenzerheide to St Moritz. The post stage-coach connection "Grand Canon Express" from Chur through the Upper Rhine Valley to Laax is becoming increasingly popular.Excavation has shown that the sight was occupied about 3000 B.C. In 15 B.C. after their conquest of Rhaetia (an ancient Alpine district), the Romans made this the chief town of Rhaetia Prima. The name is derived from the Celtic "kora" or "koria" (tribe, clan). In 284 Chur became the provincial capital, about 450 the see of a bishop. In the 12th C. the bishops of Chur were granted the status of princes of the Empire, but the Reformation deprived them of their secular authority. When the canton of Grisons was established in 1803 Chur became its administrative capital.
Chur is situated on the River Plessur, which here flows into the Rhine. It is dominated by the picturesque Bishop's Court (Bischöflicher Hof), an extensive group of buildings surrounding the Hofplatz, on the site of a Roman fort.
Chur's cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption, is a Romanesque and Gothic building of the 12th and 13th C. (choir consecrated 1178, church 1272) with fine monumental sculpture and a richly decorated interior ranging in date from the Carolingian period to the Baroque. Inside the cathedral the carved altar, by Jakob Russ of Ravensburg (1486-92), is the finest Late Gothic altar in the country, and there are notable figured capitals in the nave and crypt (sixth and 12th C.). In one of the aisles is the tomb (gravestone), discovered in 1960, of the Swiss patriot Jürg Jenatsch (b. 1596, murdered 1639), who fought for the return of the Valtellina region to the Grisons canton. In the choir is a fine triptych of 1492.
The Chur Cathedral Museum displays the valuable Cathedral treasury, including the relics of St Lucius (second C.) and a fourth C. seal.
Church of St Lucius
Above Chur's cathedral to the east are the former monastic church of St Lucius, with a round Carolingian crypt (eighth C.), a seminary for the training of priests and a theological college.
Below the Bishop's Court is the Old Town of Chur, with interesting old buildings of the 15th-17th C.
In Chur's Regierungsplatz are the Vazerol monument, commemorating the union of the three Rhaetian leagues in 1471, and the Regierungsgebäude (Government Building), known as the "Graues Haus" (Gray House), with the cantonal chancery, the chamber in which the Little Council meets, the cantonal library and the state archives.
In Chur's Reichsgasse is the Rathaus (Town Hall), built in 1465, with the Citizens' Council Chamber (1538: 17th C. tiled stove), and the Town Council Chamber (1494: collection of precious stones). The trapezoid roof and the cross vaulting of the Town Hall are of 16th C. origin.
19th C. horse-drawn carriages
St Martin's Church
At the end of Chur's Reichsgasse St Martin's church (Protestant: originally eighth C., rebuilt in Late Gothic style 1476-91) has stained glass by A. Giacometti (1917). The fountain of the same name (1716), in front of the church, depicts a Roman soldier; it was erected in 1910 by A. Bianci as a copy of the original by F. Hundertpfund, which is lost.
Located in a baroque house, this exhibition features the region's cultural history and folk art from the middle ages to the early 20th century plus antiques from the Mediterranean.
Address: Hofstrasse 1, CH-7000 Chur, Switzerland
Opening hours: 10am-12pm, 2pm-5pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24), New Year's Eve (Dec 31), Pentecost Sunday (Whit Sunday) - Christian
Entrance fee in CHF: Adult CHF5.00, Students CHF2.00, Child 15 & under FREE
Fine Arts Museum
The Fine Arts museum consists of around 6000 works from all areas of fine art from the mid-18th century to the present day. Works by Swiss artists are featured including: Giovanni, Augusto and Alberto Giacometti, and also by Giovanni Segantini and Angelika Kauffmann.
Address: Bahnhofstrasse 35, CH-7000 Chur, Switzerland
Opening hours: 10am-12pm, 2pm-5pm; Thu: 10am-12pm, 2pm-8pm; Closed: Mon
Entrance fee in CHF: Adult CHF7.00, Concession or reduced rate CHF4.00, Child 16 & under FREE
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Facilities: Restaurant or food service
Natural History Museum
To the northeast of Chur's Natural History Museum is the Grossratsgebäude (Great Council Building), converted in 1958 from the old Armory, which also houses the Municipal Theatre (Stadttheater).
Benedikt Fontana Monument
Southeast of Chur's Postplatz is the Fontanaplatz, with a monument to Benedikt Fontana, leader of the men of Grisons in the Battle of the Calven gorge in 1499.
Didaktische Ausstellung Urgeschichte
A hands-on exhibit of prehistoric tools and fossils.
Camana Safier Local Museum
Map of Chur Attractions