Making the high Alps accessible for tourists. Cog railways and their role for Belle Époque tourist advertising

Rohr, Christian (24 August 2019). Making the high Alps accessible for tourists. Cog railways and their role for Belle Époque tourist advertising (Unpublished). In: 10th Biennial ESEH Conference “Boundaries in/of Environmental History”. Tallinn. 21.08.2019-25.08.2019.

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For a long time, the high Alps had been inaccessible for nearly anyone. Only shepherds reached the highest pastures; travellers faced treeless landscapes, when crossing Alpine pass routes. During the 18th century, a fundamental change in the perception of the Alps took place: Alpine peaks, glaciers and rocks became something sublime. Artists started to depict Alpine sceneries, and a few bourgeois tourists started to climb up even the highest mountains of the Alps; nevertheless, for the majority the boundaries between the foothills and the high Alpine ranges still remained. In the second third of the 19th century, the Alpine countries became reachable by train. Starting with Thomas Cook’s travel agency, mass tourism reached the Alps in the 1860s. From the end of the 1870s onwards, a new tourist attraction became popular: cog railways, bringing rapidly increasing numbers of tourists up the mountains. “Normal” tourists were now able to transcend the boundary reaching high Alpine viewpoints and even peaks. For the first time, they could admire Alpine sceneries not only from the valleys, but also from high altitude. Pass routes were now surmounted not with an arduous walk or on horseback, but in a relatively comfortable train. Alpine travel became an exciting amusement. It is obvious that the new cog railways became an important motif for tourist advertisements. During the Belle Époque, renowned artists such as Anton Reckziegel designed posters in great numbers. These posters advertising the new Alpine cog railways were affixed in railway stations and hotels. This paper is dedicated to this important pictorial source type to be used for environmental history approaches. It will be analysed how the cog railways became an essential part of Alpine landscapes and how bourgeois mass tourists became now able to approach the high mountains. The posters themselves mirror a new perception of Alpine landscapes.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History > Economic, Social and Environmental History

UniBE Contributor:

Rohr, Christian

Subjects:

900 History
900 History > 910 Geography & travel
900 History > 940 History of Europe

Language:

English

Submitter:

Christian Rohr

Date Deposited:

05 Sep 2019 09:22

Last Modified:

05 Sep 2019 09:22

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Alpen, Tourismusgeschichte, Umweltgeschichte, Zahnradbahnen, Werbung

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/132779

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