Thursday, December 4, 2014

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 171

Klöntalersee, Glarus, Switzerland

My wonderful French friend who now lives in Italy sent this beautiful card of Klöntalersee, Switzerland where he had gone with a group to bicycle in the mountains.  Located in the Canton of Glarus, Klöntalersee is a natural lake that has been used as a reservoir for hydroelectric power since 1908.  A dam constructed for the power plant has substantially increased the volume of water in the lake.

As the picture on the card shows this is a deep valley between mountains.  Tödi is the highest peak in the Glarus Alps at 11,857 feet (3,614 meters).  Other peaks include Hausstock at 10,361 feet (3,158 meters) and Glärnisch at 9,550 feet (2,910 meters.  The Linth River runs through the valley.  The left tributary of the Linth, the Löntsch, drains the Klöntalersee.  

Legends say that the people of the Linth Valley were converted to Christianity in the 6th Century by efforts of an Irish monk, Saint Fridolin, who was the founder of Säckingen Abbey (ca 538) and his image can be found on the coat of arms for the Canton.  His image was also used to rally the people during battles particularly in the 1300s. 

German settlers came as early as the 8th century and a variety of the Alemannic German language is spoken here today.  Beginning in the 9th century the Abbey owned the area around Glarus with the town called Clarona.  The Habsburgs claimed all the abbey’s assets by 1288. 

Slate works were established in Glarus in the 17th century.  Later cotton and wool spinning became important industries.  Cotton printing and hydroelectric plants were added and still later metal and machinery factories and paper mills became part of the economy.   These industries did not replace the more traditional dairy farms or cattle breeding.  These are still important today and cattle can be seen grazing on the mountainside.  Another important industry in the canton is Forestry.  The view in the photo on the postcard shows mostly the trees, lake and mountains so it was somewhat a surprise to learn of all the industry in the area. 

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