Gotthard Pass Switzerland Image by Dmitry A. Mottl
The Gotthard Pass is a mountain pass that is located in the Lepontine Alps in the southern part of Switzerland. It is said that it was dedicated to the Bavarian Saint Gotthard as early as 1236, so it has been around for a long time! Even though the pass was widely known earlier, it was not often used until at least 1300. This was because it involved crossing the Reuss river, this was a difficult task as the river swells with melted snow at the beginning of summer. The pass is 6915 feet above sea level and it forms an important link between German and Italian parts of the country.
It is known as being the most important mountain pass in the Swiss Alps, according to local history deaths resulting from drowning were a common occurrence during the months of may and April each year. A safer way of crossing the river was needed and as a result several bridges were built. In more recent years rail and motorway tunnels have been built to provide access to the pass and make using it easier. As well as being important for travel, the Gotthard Pass also has great historical significance.