Switzerland, the penultimate Alpine state

Today is Swiss Independence Day, this year celebrating 721 years of confederacy. The foundation of modern-day Switzerland initiated back in 1291 with the allegiance of three cantons in central Europe.

The mountains were the natural defence of the local people at the time, but as trading routes were established over the high mountain passes of the Alps (notably over the St. Gotthard Pass) it demanded an allegiance for trade and defence. This makes it arguably one of the oldest republics.

It is a day of celebration across the country and much of the it is much like independence celebrations anywhere … copious fireworks, music and dancing. Of course there are local flavours that stand-out, and here in the Val de Bagnes raclette will feature high!

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