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Simplon Pass

Simplon Pass

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Encyclopedia
Simplon Pass (2005 m (6,578.1 ft)) is a high mountain pass
Mountain pass
A mountain pass is a route through a mountain range or over a ridge. If following the lowest possible route, a pass is locally the highest point on that route...

 between the Pennine Alps
Pennine Alps
The Pennine Alps are a mountain range in the western part of the Alps. They are located in Switzerland and Italy...

 and the Lepontine Alps
Lepontine Alps
The Lepontine Alps are a mountain range in the central part of the Alps. They are located in Switzerland and Italy .On the north the upper Rhône valley separate them from the Bernese Alps and the Furka Pass and the upper Reuss valley separates them from the Urner Alps; on the west the Simplon Pass...

 in Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. It connects Brig
Brig, Switzerland
Brig, officially Brig-Glis is a municipality in the district of Brig in the canton of Valais in Switzerland.The current municipality was formed in 1972 through the merger of Brig , Brigerbad and Glis.-History:...

 in the canton of Valais
Valais
The Valais is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland in the southwestern part of the country, around the valley of the Rhône from its headwaters to Lake Geneva, separating the Pennine Alps from the Bernese Alps. The canton is one of the drier parts of Switzerland in its central Rhône valley...

 with Domodossola
Domodossola
Domodossola is a city and comune in the Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, in the region of Piedmont, northern Italy...

 in Piedmont
Piedmont
Piedmont is one of the 20 regions of Italy. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of about 4.4 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin. The main local language is Piedmontese. Occitan is also spoken by a minority in the Occitan Valleys situated in the Provinces of...

 (Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

). The pass itself and the villages on each side of it, such as Gondo, are in Switzerland. The Simplon Tunnel
Simplon Tunnel
The Simplon Tunnel is an Alpine railway tunnel that connects the Swiss town of Brig with Domodossola in Italy, though its relatively straight trajectory does not run under Simplon Pass itself. It actually consists of two single-track tunnels built nearly 20 years apart...

 was built beneath the vicinity of the pass in the early 20th century to carry rail traffic between the two countries.

About 500 metres west of Simplon Pass lies a lower, unnamed pass, at an altitude of 1994 m (6,542 ft). It is the lowest point on the watershed between the basins of the Rhone
Rhône
Rhone can refer to:* Rhone, one of the major rivers of Europe, running through Switzerland and France* Rhône Glacier, the source of the Rhone River and one of the primary contributors to Lake Geneva in the far eastern end of the canton of Valais in Switzerland...

 and the Po in Switzerland.

Rotelsee
Rotelsee
Rotelsee is a lake near Simplon Pass in the canton of Valais, Switzerland....

 is a lake located near the pass at an elevation of 2028 m.

History



There has been a locally used passage through the mountains here for several centuries, but the pass acquired international significance during the Napoleonic occupation. Between 1801 and 1805 the Simplon Road was constructed by the engineer Nicolas Céard at the direction of the emperor
Napoleon I
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 in order to transport artillery pieces through the pass between the Rhône valley and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. Since then, the pass has been usable by post carriages, replaced early in the twentieth century by post buses.

The road was periodically improved and in 1950 the cantonal authorities created a plan whereby the pass could be kept open all through the year, and not closed to traffic between October and late April like most Alpine passes at this altitude. The improvements included several lengthy avalanche shelters along the more exposed stretches of road and the expansion of certain road tunnels to accommodate full size tourist coaches which were significantly taller than the post buses used for local passengers. In October 1970, a party of journalists was invited to inspect the improvements and it was announced that the necessary improvements had been implemented on 37 of the 42.5 kilometers between Brig
Brig, Switzerland
Brig, officially Brig-Glis is a municipality in the district of Brig in the canton of Valais in Switzerland.The current municipality was formed in 1972 through the merger of Brig , Brigerbad and Glis.-History:...

 in Valais
Valais
The Valais is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland in the southwestern part of the country, around the valley of the Rhône from its headwaters to Lake Geneva, separating the Pennine Alps from the Bernese Alps. The canton is one of the drier parts of Switzerland in its central Rhône valley...

 and the Italian frontier at Gondo
Gondo
Gondo is a village in the Bamingui-Bangoran Prefecture in the northern Central African Republic.-External links:**...

, that 110 of the 180 million Swiss francs budgeted to the project had been spent and that, while a further five years would be needed to complete all the projected improvements, the Simplon Pass could now be used safely all through the year.

The former Simplon département
Simplon (département)
Simplon was the name of a département of the First French Empire. It is named after the Simplon Pass. It was formed in 1810, when the Rhodanic Republic was occupied by the French. Its territory corresponds with that of the present Swiss canton of Valais. The capital of Simplon département was Sion...

 (the Swiss canton Valais
Valais
The Valais is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland in the southwestern part of the country, around the valley of the Rhône from its headwaters to Lake Geneva, separating the Pennine Alps from the Bernese Alps. The canton is one of the drier parts of Switzerland in its central Rhône valley...

) was named after the pass.

See also


External links