Lower Engadine

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The Lower Engadine, looking east to the Lower Engadine Dolomites

The Lower Engadine ( Romansh Engiadina Bassa ? / I , formerly Engiadina Suot , derived from the Romansh name of the river Inn: En ) is the lower part of the Swiss Inn Valley . Together with the Samnaun and the Val Müstair , it forms the Inn district in the canton of Graubünden . Audio file / audio sample


Piz Linard , the highest peak in the Lower Engadine


The Engadin is located in the south-east of Switzerland in the border triangle with Austria and Italy . In the southwest, the Lower Engadine connects to the much flatter and wider Upper Engadine (Engiadin'Ota), with which it is historically connected by the Punt Ota (high bridge) near the town of Brail . To the north-west are the Landwassertal and Davos , to the north the Prättigau and Paznaun, north-east Samnaun and to the east the Upper Court . To the south-east lies the Vinschgau , to the south the Münstertal , and to the south-west Livigno .

The valley is much more steeply (1610-1019 m) inclined than the Upper Engadin and narrower and wilder. As far as the Austrian border behind Martina , the Inn digs through the Brailer, Zernezer, Ardezer, Scuoler and Finstermünzer gorges. In the wildest of these gorges, that of Finstermünz , he leaves Switzerland under the Austrian border fortress Altfinstermünz .

Zernez, next to Scuol the most important village in the Lower Engadine

At the exit of the Brail Gorge, Zernez lies in a valley basin, after Scuol (Schuls) the most important town in the Lower Engadine today. Most of the other places are also directly on the banks of the Inn ( Susch , Lavin , Giarsun , Scuol, Sur En, Strada and Martina) or on the numerous south-facing terraces of the valley ( Guarda , Bos-cha , Ardez , Ftan , Sent , Ramosch , Vnà and Seraplana , San Nicla and Tschlin ). Only the hamlets of Tarasp do a place on the right terraces of the Inn.


On the left (northern) side of the Inn, the Lower Engadine includes the eastern foothills of the Albula Alps , the southern side of the Silvretta with the Piz Linard , Piz Buin , Dreiländerspitze and Silvrettahorn and the southern foothills of the Samnaun group with the Piz Mundin , Muttler and Piz Tschütta . To the right of the Inn are the foothills of the Livigno Alps with the Piz Quattervals and the peaks of the Sesvenna group such as Piz Pisoc , Piz Tavrü , Piz Plavna Dadaint , Piz Zuort and Piz Lischana , which are often referred to as the Engadine Dolomites . A large part of the mountain range to the right of the Inn is part of the Swiss National Park . The highest peak in the Lower Engadine is the striking Piz Linard at 3410 meters.

Side valleys

The largest side valleys to the right of the Inn include the Val da Spöl , where the Ofenpass road to the Münstertal and Vinschgau begins in Zernez , and the Val Plavna and Val S-charl near Tarasp and Scuol. To the left of the Inn are the Val Susasca near Susch, from whose pass summit it goes via Davos into the Landwassertal and Prättigau , as well as the Val Tuoi , Val Tasna and Val Sinestra above Guarda, Ardez and Sent, which lead towards Paznaun . At the border with Austria, the remote Samnaun valley branches off to the left .

Locations in the Lower Engadine


Down the valley: Zernez municipality : Brail (geographically and linguistically and culturally already assigned to the Upper Engadin), Zernez, Susch , Lavin ; Municipality of Scuol : Giarsun , Guarda , Bos-cha , Ardez , Ftan , the former municipality of Tarasp (with the fractions Fontana, Sparsels and Vulpera ), Scuol, Sent ; Valsot municipality : Vnà , Ramosch , Seraplana and Raschvella (fractions of the former Ramosch municipality), Tschlin , Strada and Martina (fractions of the former Tschlin municipality).


Early and ancient times

Archaeological finds prove the continuous settlement of the Lower Engadine since the Bronze Age, important sites were the Muotta dal Clüs near Zernez, Padnal near Susch, the church hill in Scuol and the Motatta near Ramosch. The Lower Engadines of the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age are assigned to the Laugen-Melaun culture , those of the Middle and Late Iron Age to the Fritzens-Sanzeno civilization . 15 BC The campaigns of the Augustus sons Tiberius and Drusus also led through the Engadine, the Raetians living there were incorporated into the Roman Empire and Romanized during the course of Roman rule. Some coin finds document the Roman rule.

In the course of Christianization, the first diocese north of the Alps was established in Chur .

Early middle ages

Ramosch with the Florinus Church

With the migrations , the province of Raetia Prima or Raetia Curiensis and thus also the Lower Engadine initially became part of the Ostrogothic Empire , then between 533 and 548 it fell to the Frankish Empire . The political control over Churrätien was during the Frankish rule until 765 in the hands of the Chur aristocratic family of the Viktoriden . Various representatives of this dynasty combined the old political office of the praeses with the dignity of the bishop of Chur. So they managed to control both the old Roman imperial and fiscal property as well as church property. Charlemagne was from 772/74 until then largely independent province greater loyalty to the Reich. With Remidius , he first appointed a bishop from the imperial court, after whose death he succeeded in separating imperial and church property in Churrätia, and apparently a large part of his property was withdrawn from the bishop. At the same time, with the county constitution , secular jurisdiction was also separated. For the Lower Engadin - in contrast to the Upper Engadin, for example - this resulted in conflicts over centuries of supremacy in the valley. The often mutilating rulership and feudal rights of the owners led to long feuds.

Ramosch is considered to be the early medieval center of the Lower Engadine, where the first Christian church of the Engadine was located in the 6th century and from where the Christian community of the Engadine developed. Here in Ramosch or Remüs, Florinus von Remüs worked as a pastor. His grave became a place of pilgrimage until the Reformation in 1530.

High Middle Ages

Tarasp and Tarasp Castle

The margraviate of Churrätien belonged to the Duchy of Swabia proclaimed in 917 and thus to the Holy Roman Empire , which emerged from the Carolingian East Franconia . The Lower Engadine was part of the County of Vinschgau , which fell to the Counts of Tyrol in the middle of the 12th century . The Tyrolean counts held the rights of high jurisdiction .

Meanwhile, after the restrictions imposed by Charlemagne, the bishops of Chur were able to extend their secular influences to the Lower Engadine by means of new free float: The diocese, which based its claims on donations from Otto I and Henry II and held the lower jurisdiction , took over In 1177 Tarasp Castle , which was built from 1040 onwards by a family from the Vinschgau Valley, in 1209 Steinsberg fortress near Ardez, which made the diocese the center of its rule in the Lower Engadine, and in 1394 Ramosch Castle , an important administrative center of the Lower Engadine, a little later the fortress Wildenberg-Planta in Zernez. The properties of the neighboring Benedictine monasteries Marienberg in Vinschgau and Mustair in Val Müstair, which had been granted feudal rights by the Lords of Tarasp , were also distributed across the Lower Engadine . The Lords of Matsch , who emerged from the von Tarasp family, also owned a number of feudal rights in the Lower Engadine, for example they managed Tarasp Castle from 1273, which had passed to Count Albert von Tirol in 1239. The Tyrolean counts transferred the jurisdiction in the Nauders area , to which the Lower Engadine also belonged, to the Lords of Matsch.

Meanwhile, the Engadin farmers extended their pastures on the Lower Engadine addition of: The northern slopes of Flüelapass in the sparsely populated area around Davos among the pastures Suschs, were with the settlement by the Walser leased and in the 13th century, first to those sold 1328th The Lords of Tarasp owned the Alps in the Fimber Valley (Val Fenga) as early as the 11th century and, in the 12th century, took land together with the Marienberg Monastery in the central Paznaun Valley around Ischgl . Free farmers from Sent and Ardez settled in Galtür , Ischgl and Paznaun, and the community of Sent acquired grazing rights there. Galtür was also ecclesiastically subordinate to the municipality of Ardez; its own parish church was not consecrated until 1383. Ischgl belonged to Sent ecclesiastically until 1616, and parts of the Fimber Valley are still in the Senter area today.

Late Middle Ages

Border fortress Finstermünz

In 1363 Tyrol fell to the Habsburgs and thus to the Hereditary Duchy of Austria. Since then, the Habsburgs have tried to consolidate, secure and expand their possessions in the Lower Engadine, which led to conflicts with the diocese of Chur. As a counterbalance to the Habsburg expansion, the church federation was sworn in in Zernez in 1365 and in Chur in 1367 , in which the Lower Engadines also took part. In addition to the Bishop of Chur and Tyrol and the House of Habsburg, a third power factor arose with the Church of God in the Lower Engadine. In order to protect themselves from attacks from the Engadine and to be able to collect customs duties on the traffic routes from the Engadine and Vinschgau over the Reschenpass to Tyrol, the Austrians established the border fortress Altfinstermünz in the gorge of the same name at the lower end of the Engadine from 1427 . A similar, albeit significantly smaller, dam exists with La Serra in Zernez.

Registers of the County of Tyrol from 1427 recorded around 2,000 inhabitants for the Lower Engadine, of which around 800 were subordinate to the County of Tyrol with its seat in Merano . In Tschlin, for example, 78 percent and in Sent even 90 percent of the population were subordinate to the county, which had its rights and possessions administered by the Vogt of neighboring Nauders on the Reschen Pass in Upper Venosta Valley. The high jurisdiction or blood jurisdiction lay in Nauders, i.e. with the Counts of Tyrol, who also had the hunting and fishing rights, the mines, for example in S-charl , and the waters and who let the forests be exploited.

The former judicial district of Sur Muntfallun (above Munt Fallun) comprised the villages of Zernez, Susch (Süs), Lavin, Guarda, Ardez (Steinsberg) and Ftan, Suot Muntfallun (below Munt Fallun) Scuol (Schuls), Sent (Sins), Ramosch ( Remüs, with Samnaun) and Tschlin (Schleins). It was named after a hill between Scuol and Sent. The court Sur Muntfallun met in Puniasca near Susch, Suot Muntfallun in Chünettas not far from the Inn near Sent. An annual country language took place in Martina under the bailiffs of Nauders and the representatives of the courts of the Lower Engadine and Vinschgau as well as envoys from the Bishop of Chur and the monasteries Marienberg and Müstair . This so-called Landsgemeinde existed until the 16th century.

Three judicial districts were responsible for the lower jurisdiction , which largely coincide with today's three districts of the Lower Engadine: The judicial district Sur Tasna comprises the villages from the Punt Ota to the Val Tasna, i.e. Zernez, Susch, Lavin, Guarda and Ardez, the district Suot Tasna the places Ftan, Scuol, Sent and Tschlin, the district Ramosch the areas belonging to the castle. After the 15th century, Tschlin and Samnaun also belong to the Ramosch district. (The Austrian Tarasp only came to the Obtasna district in 1803.)

With the increasing influence of the church federation, which developed into its own state entity from 1450, the Austrian influence in the Lower Engadine - apart from the enclave Tarasp, the only village to the right of the Inn and away from the valley road - was gradually pushed back. Obtasna, Untertasna and Ramosch with the distant valleys of Avers and Stalla (Bivio) became three of the eleven high courts of the Church of God.

The conflict between the Engadines and the formal authorities, the Habsburgs, escalated in the so-called hen war in 1475 , when the Lower Engadines refused to give up the carnival chickens. The Austrians then plundered the valley and set fire to Ramosch Castle. 24 years later, the bloody Swabian War ravaged the Engadine: after the victory of the Graubünden troops in the Battle of Calven , King Maximilian I marched through the Lower Engadine to Zernez as an act of revenge in early June 1499, burned more than a dozen villages and took 36 hostages and stole 6000 cows. On July 18, 500 Tyrolean soldiers advanced over the Fuorcla Salet to Tschlin, but were again put to flight.

The rights of the Tyroleans and Habsburgs in the Lower Engadine lost their significance from then on, but existed on paper until 1652.

Reformation and the Thirty Years War

Wildenberg Castle, Rudolf Planta's residence in Zernez

Philipp Gallicius from Müstair, former Benedictine student in Marienburg and pastor in Lavin, introduced the Reformation in Lavin and Guarda in 1529. By 1552, after an iconoclasm with Zernez and in 1576 with Sent, the Engadine community also joined the Reformation movement - with the exception of the Austrian Tarasps, which has remained mostly Catholic to this day.

In the Thirty Years' War , when France-Venice and Spain-Austria warred around the Three Leagues, the Engadine was devastated: By Zuozer Rudolf von Planta one of the richest Grisons and owners reached the castle Wildberg-Planta in Zernez for the Catholic Austrian party. Planta was first expelled from the Three Leagues and declared outlawed by the Upper Engadine pastor Jörg Jenatsch , among others , and Wildenberg Castle was destroyed. The Valtellina murder , when a mercenary army under Planta's nephew Giacomo Robustelli killed 500 Protestants and took control of Bormio and the Valtellina , is considered to be the trigger for the turmoil in Graubünden . As a result, Spanish and Austrian armies marched through the Three Leagues , to which the Church of God had merged with the Gray League and the Ten Judgment League . The Austrian Colonel Alois Baldiron came with 8,000 men from the Vinschgau through the Val S-charl . At Scuol he met fierce resistance, but fought his way over the Inn and on over the Flüela to Davos. Baldiron and Rudolf Planta, the leaders of the Spanish troops, reached Chur on November 16, 1621.

In the Milan treaties, the Engadin was ceded to Austria in 1622, the three leagues had to forego the Münstertal, the Lower Engadine, Davos, Schanfigg, Belfort and the Prättigau for an annual fee of 25,000 guilders. The Protestant faith in the Lower Engadine was banned and the Reformed preachers were expelled from the Lower Engadine. After the Prättigau uprising , the contracts were terminated by the three leagues a year later. Again it was Colonel Baldiron who invaded the Lower Engadine with 10,000 men from Samnaun through Val Sampoir . Rudolf von Salis , commander-in-chief of the rebels, had to withdraw with his force of only 2,000 men over the Flüela Pass to Davos and leave the Lower Engadine to the Austrians without a fight, who plundered the valley and burned the villages down. The Lindau Treaty confirmed Austrian rule, which operated the Counter Reformation in the occupied territories.

On February 17, 1623, Catholic France, which saw itself threatened by the Habsburg successes, concluded an alliance with Savoy and Venice to liberate the Three Leagues. When the 8,000-strong French army allied itself with six federal regiments, the Austrians fled from the Lower Engadine to Merano , only to invade Bünden again in May 1629 and once again take control of the Lower Engadine and promote the Counter-Reformation. The Austrian commissioner von Nauders even demanded that the evangelical dead be removed from the cemeteries. When resistance against him and the returned Rudolf von Planta arose, the Lower Engadine was occupied by 2,000 soldiers. When Sweden invaded the Holy Roman Empire, Austria was forced to withdraw from the Three Leagues. The three leagues became a de facto French protectorate. In order to conquer the Valtellina, the French commander-in-chief Henri II. De Rohan crossed the Three Leagues and had fortifications built at Ardez and Susch. The Fortezza Rohan still towers above Susch today.

The Thirty Years War ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. In two contracts between the three leagues and Austria on June 10, 1649 and July 27, 1652, the Habsburg rights in the ten-court league, in the Münstertal and in the Lower Engadine were replaced with loans from the reformed places. The villages of the Lower Engadine, with the exception of Tarasp, then bought themselves free from Austria: Sur Montfallun (Zernez, Susch, Lavin, Guarda, Ardez and Ftan) for 14,000 guilders, Suot Montfallun (Scuol, Sent, Ramosch (with the Samnaun fraction) and Tschlin) for 12,000 guilders. Tarasp was given to the princes of Dietrichstein zu Nikolsburg in Moravia as a hereditary imperial fief in 1687 , but the tax sovereignty remained with the House of Habsburg.

Modern times

Former agricultural terraces west of Tschlin
Flüela Hospice around 1900

With the spread of the French Revolution , the until then virtually independent Free State of the Three Leagues was occupied several times, including the Engadine. The Three Leagues, and with them the Engadine, have been part of the Helvetic Republic since 1799 as the canton of Raetia and part of the Swiss Confederation as the canton of Graubünden since 1803 . With the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss 1803, Tarasp also came to the canton, which in 1851 became part of the Obtasna district when the cantons were reorganized.

Until the end of the 19th century, Sent was the largest municipality in the Lower Engadine.

The population made a substantial living from livestock farming; from the 15th to the 20th century, grain was also grown, for example on the terraced fields of Ramosch and Sent. The extensive forests, which were largely cut down in Zernez, for example, and shipped to the salt pans of the salt mines of Hall in Tirol, proved to be an important source of income for the communities . While the late medieval iron ore mines on the Ofen Pass were shut down again in the 17th century, the silver and lead mines in S-charl continued to operate with interruptions until the 19th century.

While the transport industry has always played a role for the Upper Engadine and the Upper Court, the Julier Pass and the Reschen Pass were already important transport routes in Roman times, the Lower Engadine is somewhat off the main Alpine transit routes. Nevertheless, the Flüelapass to Susch and especially the Ofenpass became an important source of income for the population, at the same time the transit route Vienna - Innsbruck - Lake Como - Milan led through the Lower Engadine. Zernez developed into a traffic junction, not only with the construction of the Engadine line of the Rhaetian Railway from Bever to Scuol in 1913. Since the beginning of modern times there has been wagon traffic on the pass route to Tschierv , since 1864 regular mail traffic. The Flüela Pass , on which the village of Susch lived, was considered the shortest connection from Chur via the Landwasser Valley and Davos to Tyrol or the Ofen Pass to the Vinschgau. The first driveway dates from 1866/67. Until 1925 there was a general driving ban in Graubünden, and so the Rhaetian Railway from Chur to Davos and the railway line in the valley to S-cuol were of great importance. The only winter-safe connection to the north was only established in 1999 with the Vereina tunnel to Prättigau.

The typical Senter gables show the wealth that the emigrants brought to the valley

Since the 16th century brought the income of emigrants, first merchants and craftsmen, later Konditore and confectioners , money into the valley. The people of Graubünden enjoyed great privileges in northern Italy, especially in Venice. Their wealth is expressed, for example, in the townscape of Sents. The Engadin was rarely able to feed all of its residents, and so half of the male population lived and worked abroad at times.

Grandhotel Waldhaus in Tarasp-Vulpera

Tourism started in the middle of the 19th century. In Scuol, the Tarasp fraction Vulpera and the Val Sinestra, spa houses were built, around the numerous medicinal springs Scuol and Tarasp countless hotels and with the Tarasp-Schuls-Vulpera a glamorous spa town. However, the First World War brought bathing and summer tourism to a standstill again.

In the meantime, tourism has become one of the valley's most important sources of income , thanks in particular to the emergence of winter tourism in the Motta Naluns ski area in the 1970s . In addition, there is concession income from the use of hydropower: the Engadine power plants , which generate electricity from the water of the Spöl and Inn, were founded in 1954.


Currently (December 2008) around 7,000 people live in the Lower Engadine (excluding Samnaun), 1,100 of them in Zernez and 2,200 in Scuol and 900 in Sent.


While in the Upper Engadin the Rhaeto-Romanic idiom Putér is heavily oppressed by Swiss German in everyday life , the Lower Engadin Vallader is still relatively well represented. It is the official language and is taught in schools. The German language prevailed in Samnaun at the beginning of the 19th century .

Around 54 percent of the inhabitants of the Lower Engadine and Samnaun said Romansh was their mother tongue in the 2000 census, and 38 percent German.

regional customs

At the beginning of February, the Hom Strom festival is celebrated in Scuol , and the Schüschaiver in Ftan . The Chalandamarz is celebrated on March 1st .

A specialty of the Lower Engadine is the tradition of nicknames for the villages .



  • Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund (Ed.): Festivals in the Alpine region . Migros-Presse, Zurich 1997, ISBN 3-9521210-0-2 , p. 63.
  • Jon Mathieu: Farmers and Bears: A History of the Lower Engadine from 1650 to 1800 . Chur, Octopus-Verlag 1994.

Web links

Commons : Engadin  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The District of Obtasna, Untertasna and Remüs mindspring.com
  2. Jürg Simonett: Flüelapass. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . October 28, 2005 , accessed June 5, 2019 .
  3. ^ Martin Bundi : Paznaun. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . November 12, 2014 , accessed June 5, 2019 .
  4. ^ Paul Eugen Grimm: Ardez. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . December 8, 2016 , accessed June 5, 2019 .
  5. a b c Paul Eugen Grimm: Sent. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . July 12, 2017 , accessed June 5, 2019 .
  6. ^ Local history of Galtür. History of Tyrol
  7. a b c History of the Tschlin community
  8. Altfinstermünz: Historical overview
  9. ^ Paul Eugen Grimm: Susch. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . December 14, 2016 , accessed June 5, 2019 .
  10. Randulins / Emigration community Sent
  11. Resident population by main language, canton, GR and regions ( Memento of the original from March 16, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ( MS Excel ) laregiun.ch @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.laregiun.ch