from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Urseren with a view of Realp
View from the Furka pass to the Urseren
View from Badus on the eastern edge of the valley with Andermatt in the foreground

The Ursern or Urseren or the Urserental ( Rhaeto-Romanic Val d'Ursera ? / I ) is a valley in the headwaters of the Reuss in the Swiss canton of Uri . It forms a central plateau at about 1500  m above sea level. M. between the Furka passes in the west, the Gotthard pass in the south and the Oberalp pass in the east. Audio file / audio sample

The Ursern consists of the communities Andermatt , Hospental and Realp . Until 2023 it forms the judicial district of the Ursern Regional Court of first instance . The citizens of the valley have been united in the Ursern corporation since 1888 , one of the two public corporations of the canton of Uri.


The valley is located south of the Schöllenen Gorge and is thus separated from the rest of the canton. There are transitions to the neighboring cantons via the Furka Pass (towards Obergoms , Canton Valais ), the Oberalp Pass (towards Surselva , Canton Graubünden ) and the Gotthard Pass (towards Leventina , Canton Ticino ). That is why the valley has always led its own life. Geographically, part of the Ticino community of Airolo north of the Gotthard Pass is also part of the valley.


Population development
year 1643 1799 1850 1900 1950 2000
Residents 700 approx. 1143 1304 1316 1699 1634

The Urserental and its side valleys are among the less densely populated valleys in the Swiss Alps.

local community Residents surface Population density
Andermatt Andermatt-coat of arms.svg 1,320 62.15 km² 21.2 inhabitants / km²
Hospental Coat of arms Hospental.svg 216 34.97 km² 6.2 inhabitants / km²
Realp Realp-coat of arms.svg 133 77.97 km² 1.7 inhabitants / km²
Airolo Airolo-coat of arms.svg 0 17.18 km² 0.0 inhabitants / km²
Urserental Coat of arms Urseren.svg 1,669 192.27 km² 8.7 inhabitants / km²
  1. Only the Gotthardreuss catchment area is taken into account .
As of July 26, 2014


The oldest documented name in the valley is Ursaria (1234). The name probably goes back to Romanesque origins and means something like Bärental. This corresponds to the old coat of arms of the valley, a black bear soaring in green with a white cross in the back. The cross stands for the former affiliation to the Disentis Monastery .

The colonization of the Urserental by the Walser took place before the 12th century. The original Romansh population was assimilated. Around the year 800 the valley came into the possession of the Disentis monastery, but the inhabitants had special rights and privileges as colonists. For example, they were allowed to choose their own Ammann, who was enfeoffed with lower jurisdiction by the Abbot of Disentis . The high jurisdiction lay with the since 1232 Counts of Rapperswil , the Kastvögten Disentis. However, the relationship between the abbey and Urseren was often very tense. In 1332 there was a battle on the Oberalp, which ended with the abbot's defeat.

After the Rapperswilers died out, the Vogtei came to the House of Habsburg via Ursern in 1283 and to a lesser noblewoman from Uri in 1317. Uri tried variously to bring the Ursern valley under his control in order to be able to bring the Gotthard Pass completely under his control. In 1332/1333, in the so-called Disentin War, a conflict between Ursern and Uri and the Disentis Monastery broke out in a battle on the Oberalp . In 1382, the German King Wenzel Ursern granted imperial freedom with a letter of freedom . This freedom has been confirmed several times, most recently by Emperor Maximilian II in 1566.

In 1410, the Ursern valley and the canton of Uri concluded perpetual land rights and thus became part of the Old Confederation . Uri took over the representation to the outside as the umbrella site, but Ursern remained largely free inside. The land law was renewed again and again, most recently in 1779. In 1649 the last obligations towards the Disentis monastery were bought out.

The last valley community under the Ancien Régime took place on May 22, 1798, then Ursern first became part of the Helvetian canton of Waldstätte , and in 1803 part of the canton of Uri. During the coalition wars, the valley was badly devastated, at times up to 10,000 soldiers had to be supported. Russian, French and Austrian troops took turns occupying the valley.

In 1946 there were conflicts between the population and a civil engineer due to a dam project that intended to flood the entire valley.


Peter Birmann : Devil's Bridge with Haulers, 1824

A main occupation in the Urserental was the production of cheese . The «Urseler» or «Urserer» cheese was widely known in the 18th century and was supplied to various residences. The relatively fat cheese was shaped into tall blocks and wrapped in tree bark for transport. To eat, a hole was drilled into the cheese wheel and gradually hollowed out. It was considered a specialty for lovers because it was only eaten when it was very ripe, which gave it a strong smell.

Due to its location on several strategically important Alpine passes, the mule trade was an important source of income for centuries . Due to the increasing expansion of the Gotthard pass road and the construction of the railway and road tunnels, this industry disappeared completely in the course of the 20th century.

The most important industry today is tourism . The resort of Andermatt distinguishes itself as a hiking and winter sports destination. Since 2010, under the aegis of the investor Samih Sawiris , various projects have been implemented to increase Andermatt's tourist competitiveness, including luxury hotels, ski areas and a golf course. The Urserental lies at the foot of several well-known Alpine passes and therefore has many overnight stays by motorcycle tourists.

Ursern Corporation

The corporation Ursern, a user cooperative , is a corporation under public law ( corporation ) and is formed from the entirety of the valley citizens in Ursern. The territory of the Ursern corporation extends over the communities of Andermatt, Hospental and Realp. The property ranges from the Alps and forests to rocks and glaciers to streams and mountain lakes. Its main tasks are the promotion of agriculture and alpine farming, avalanche control, welfare, culture, education and tourism. The Ursern corporation has existed in its current form since 1888, when the Uri and Ursern corporations separated from the canton of Uri and became separate public figures.

Every year on a Sunday in May the Talgemeinde takes place, a regional rural community . It enacts laws governing corporate assets, decides on the annual accounts and the budget, grants citizenship rights and elects every two years the Talrat, the Engernrat, the Talammann, the auditing committee and the board of directors of the Ursern electricity company.



The most famous writer of the valley is the dialect poet Marie Meyer-Bollschweiler (1872–1957). Her volume of poetry Us yysem Urschnertall deals with topics from everyday life and customs and is an important document of the local dialect.

The highly Alemannic dialect of Ursern is one of Emil Abegg dedicated written and 1911 published monograph. It is also included in an appendix to the Uri dialect dictionary by Felix Aschwanden and Walter Clauss (1982, 2013), in the Swiss Idioticon and in the Linguistic Atlas of German-speaking Switzerland .


Andermatt: Ursern Valley Museum
Andermatt: St. Columban
Andermatt: Devil's Bridge over the Schöllenschlucht gorge
Hospental: town center with parish church and tower
  • Ursern Valley Museum, Andermatt (exhibition on nature, customs, economic, everyday and military history in the Suworow house from 1786)
  • National Gotthard Museum, Gotthard Passhöhe (shows the mythology and history of the Gotthard Pass and the region)
  • Fortress Museum Hospiz Gotthard, Gotthard-Passhöhe (In the former artillery fortress, not only military history but also landscape and ecological aspects are examined)

Sacred buildings

  • St. Columban's Church, Altkirch near Andermatt ( late Romanesque church from the 13th century, former talk church)
  • Parish Church of St. Peter and Paul , Andermatt (built 1748–1750, a spacious baroque church with a distinctive spire and rich furnishings )
  • St. Michael cemetery chapel , Andermatt (created 1640–1641)
  • Pilgrimage Church Maria Hilf, Andermatt (Baroque church built 1735–1736 above the village to protect against avalanches, altarpieces by Melchior Paul von Deschwanden )
  • St. Wendelin Chapel, Andermatt (built in 1708 on the Oberalp pass road)
  • Parish church Mariae Himmelfahrt, Hospental (baroque hall church built 1706–1710 )
  • Chapel St. Karl, Hospental (chapel consecrated in 1721 with neo-baroque furnishings, attached to the former benefice house)
  • Chapel of St. Nicholas, Zumdorf near Hospental (built 1719–1720)
  • Chapel St. Josef, Steinbergen near Hospental (built in 1683)
  • Parish Church Heilig Kreuz, Realp (church built 1879–1880 with valuable neo-Gothic furnishings and altarpieces by Melchior Paul von Deschwanden)
  • Maria Hilf chapel, Tiefenbach near Realp (built in 1927)
  • Hospice chapel San Gottardo, Gotthard Passhöhe (pass chapel built on early medieval foundations in the former Capuchin hospice )
  • Chapel of the Dead, Gotthard Passhöhe (mentioned in 1577, repeatedly renewed chapel below the pass height)
  • Reformed Church, Andermatt ( Reformed Diaspora Church built in 1915 in the Heimat style )
  • Chilä Altkirch, Altkirch near Andermatt ( Free Church founded in 2012 with a bar not far from the Columban Church )

Secular buildings

There are historic farmhouses from different eras in all three communities in the valley. The center of the Hospental, which burned down and rebuilt in 1669, is particularly well preserved.

  • Devil's Bridge (over the Schöllenen Gorge , the bridges from 1830 and 1956 have been preserved)
  • Suvorov Monument (monumental monument in the rock not far from the Devil's Bridge, erected 1895–1898 to commemorate the fallen Russians when General Suvorov passed through in 1799)
  • Tower, Hospental (built in 1226, widely visible landmark of the Urseren)
  • Hotel St. Gotthard, Hospental (magnificent inn built in 1723 in front of the old bridge from 1681)
  • Gotthard Hospice, Gotthard Passhöhe (various historical buildings and monuments from the 17th to 20th centuries)


The Universities of Bern and Basel maintained the VALUrsern research project in the Ursern from April 2009 to March 2012. The influence of changes in land use on the hydrology of the region was examined .


Web links

Commons : Ursern  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
  • Ursern on the ETHorama platform

Individual evidence

  1. Hans Stadler: Ursern. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . January 14, 2014 .
  2. Uri abolishes the Ursern Regional Court. In: Luzerner Zeitung, November 25, 2018 (accessed December 24, 2019).
  3. ^ Arthur Wyss: Traffic on St. Gotthard. In: Carlo Bonetti (Ed.): National Gotthard Museum. Airolo 1989, pp. 92-117.
  4. Project description from Orascom ( Memento of the original dated August 11, 2014 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. (July 26, 2014) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.orascomdh.com
  5. ↑ Citizen families on korporation-ursern.ch (accessed December 23, 2019).
  6. Korporation Ursern on korporation-ursern.ch (accessed December 23, 2019).
  7. ^ History on korporation-ursern.ch (accessed December 23, 2019).
  8. Talgemeinde on korporation-ursern.ch (accessed on December 23, 2019).
  9. ^ Marie Meyer-Bollschweiler: Us yysem Urschnertall. Andermatt 1982.
  10. ^ Emil Abegg: The dialect of Urseren (=  contributions to Swiss German grammar. Volume IV). Huber, Frauenfeld [1911].
  11. Felix Aschwanden, Walter Clauss: Urner Dialect Dictionary (=  19th annual edition of the Uri Library Society; at the same time grammars and dictionaries of Swiss German in a generally understandable representation. Volume VIII)). Altdorf 1982. - Felix Aschwanden: New Urner Dialect Dictionary. Altdorf 2013.
  12. ^ Andermatt Tourism (accessed on July 26, 2014).
  13. a b Art guide through Switzerland. Volume 2, Bern 2005, pp. 570 and 902–906.
  14. 100 years of the Evangelical Reformed Church in Uri. 1885-1985. Schattdorf 1985, pp. 13-15.
  15. Chilä Altkirch website (accessed December 1, 2017).
  16. ^ Research report from the University of Bern. Archived from the original on June 17, 2012 ; accessed on December 1, 2017 (English).

Coordinates: 46 ° 36 '45.4 "  N , 8 ° 32' 38"  E ; CH1903:  684667  /  162967