Davos Tourist Attractions
Davos, a high valley extending 16km/10mi southwest from the Wolfgang pass and traversed by the Landwasser, is the second largest commune in Switzerland (254 sq.
km/98 sq. mi) - larger than the canton of Zug. The twin settlements of Davos Platz and Davos Dorf have increased their population five-fold over the last 100 years and have now united to form a built-up area 4km/2mi long. Surrounded by forest-covered mountains and sheltered from rough north and east winds, Davos enjoys a climate (bracing but not excessively so, with plenty of sunshine and dry air) which has made it one of Switzerland's leading summer and winter resorts.The foundations of Davos's fame as a health resort were laid by a Mannheim doctor, Alexander Spengler, who prescribed mountain air for his tuberculosis patients and brought the first summer visitors here in 1860 and the first winter visitors in 1865.Since 1890 Davos has been linked with the Rhine valley (Chur) by the Rhätische Bahn (Rhaetian Railroad), and since 1909 with the Albula valley and the Engadine. There are postal bus services from Davos over the Flüela pass to Susch/Süs (only in summer), to Clavadel and Sertig Dörfli (in winter only to Clavadel) and into the Dischma valley (in winter only as far as Teufi), and from Davos Glaris to Monstein. Local bus operators run services between Davos Platz, Davos Dorf, Davos Wolfgang and Dörfji (near which is the lower station of the Pischa mountain railroad). There are numerous cableways and lifts and a wide range of facilities for sport and entertainment.The name of Davos (in the form Tavauns, which later became Dafaas) appears for the first time in 1160, in a document in the episcopal archives in Chur. In 1289, 14 families from the Valais established households here. After the death of the last member of the Toggenburg family in 1436 the League of the Ten Jurisdictions was formed. In 1649 Davos purchased its freedom from Austrian sovereignty. A large ice-rink (24,000 sq. m/28,704 sq. yd) for the world figure-skating championships and the European speed skating championships was opened in 1899, and in the same year the Davos-Scatzalp toboggan run came into operation.
The chief place of the valley is Davos Platz (1,560 m/5,118ft), the only old buildings in which are the parish church of St John the Baptist (1481; nave 1280-85, restored 1909), with a window in the choir by Augusto Giacometti (after 1928), and the adjoining Rathaus (Town Hall: restored 1930), with the panelled "Great Chamber" (Grosse Stube) of 1564.
1,200 works of the Expressionist artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) are on display in this modern gallery.
In Davos Dorf (1,563 m/5,128ft) is the 14th C. church of St Theodulus. At Museumstrasse 1 is the Old Prebend House (Altes Pfrundhaus), the only surviving example of an old burgher's house, which is now occupied by a local museum (Heimatmuseum). The Gemeindehaus (communal house) of Davos Dorf was built by Jürg Jenatsch in 1643 (altered 1886).
Davos recreation and sport
Davos offers a number of facilities for recreation and sport including:Bathing beach on the Davoser See; indoor and outdoor swimming pools (Hallenbad, Gartenbad) in the Kurpark. There is a 18-hole golf course on Davos Platz. Natural ice-rinks (22,000 sq. m/26,312 sq. yd: the largest in Europe), with areas for figure and speed skating, ice-hockey and curling; artificial ice-rink (1,800 sq. m/2,153 sq. yd), open in summer as well as winter: curling). Beautiful Kurpark (bandstand). 55 cableways and lifts with a total capacity of 55,000 persons, giving access to extensive mountain-walking and skiing areas. Toboggan run, Schatzalp-Davos. Davos is famous for the International Ice Hockey Tournament for the Spengler Cup, curling tournaments, skating events, ski races, "walking" weeks and its music festival.
Klosters - skiing
These two resorts of Davos and Klosters offer an incredible 200 miles of runs served by more than 50 lifts. Davos is the highest city in Europe and Switzerland's largest ski resort and a major conference center. Klosters, almost a suburb, is the resort where the British Royal Family likes to ski and each year Prince Charles and his two sons visit the area. The two resorts share five major ski areas, most of it perfect for beginners and intermediates, which share the same ski pass.
Scientific institutes in Advos are: Swiss Research Institute (Physical and Meteorological Observatory and World Radiation Center, Institute of Medical Climatic and Tuberculosis Research, Laboratory of Experimental Surgery, Osteosynthesis Study Group); Federal Institute of Snow and Avalanche Research, Weissfluhjoch/Davos.
The footpath called the Hohe Promenade (level walk of 2.5km/2mi from Davos Dorf to Davos Platz) leads to Wolfgang (1,631 m/5,351ft) and Laret (1,525 m/5,004ft), to the northeast, and to Frauenkirch (1,532 m/5,026ft), Spinabad (1,465 m/4,807ft), Schmelzboden (1,590 m/5,217ft: Mining Museum) and Wiesen (1,421 m/4,662ft) to the southwest.
Visitors can view a post-office carriage, a shoemaker's workshop and an exhibition describing the tuberculosis sanatoriums typical of Davos. A collection of furniture, clocks and tools can be seen at the Davos Local History Museum.
Mining Museum and Silver Collection
Minerals, ores and mining tools from the Buendner district are on display along with a glow-in-the-dark mineral exhibit.
Address: Edelweissweg 2, CH-7270 Davos-Platz, Switzerland
Opening hours: Jun 15 to Oct 15: 2pm-4pm
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Also open by appointment for groups. All guided tours are by appointment.
Guides: Audio-visual presentations available.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Flüela pass to the Engadine
The shortest route from the Rhine valley to the Lower Engadine goes from Landquart through the Prättigau to Davos Dorf and from there over the Flüela pass to Susch. The Flüela pass road between Davos and Susch (27km/17mi), opened to traffic in 1867, is between 5.5 and 7 m/18 and 23ft wide, with gradients of up to 10%. In winter the road is closed for 40 days, on average, due to the risk of avalanches. This problem should be solved in the future by the construction of a new tunnel.
From Dörfji (1,800 m/5,908ft: restaurant), from which there is a beautiful view to the rear of the Weissfluh, one can reach Tschuggen 7km/4mi southeast (1,938 m/6,361ft: holiday center, 100 chalets; in summer postal bus service from Davos), amid magnificent expanses of rhododendrons and stone pines.
Beyond the Flüela pass, at the head of the lower Engadine, Susch (1,426 m/4,680ft: pop. 222), straddles the Inn and the Susaca.
Construction began in 1988 of a tunnel which at the turn of this century will enable motorists to avoid using the Flüela pass between Davos and Unterengadin which is frequently impassable. A 19km/11mi-long tunnel is being excavated between Klosters and Susch/Lawin, through which the motor-rail "Vereina-Bahn" will travel.