Gotthard Pass (Swiss)

Gotthard Pass (Swiss)

The Gotthard Pass or St Gotthard Pass at 2,106 m is a mountain pass traversing the Saint-Gotthard Massif in the Alps, connecting northern and southern Switzerland. The pass lies between Airolo in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, and Andermatt in the German-speaking canton of Uri, and connects further Bellinzona to Lucerne, Basel, and Zurich. The region of the Gotthard Pass is an important north-south axis in Europe and is crossed by three major traffic tunnels, each being the world’s longest at the time of their construction: the Gotthard Rail Tunnel, the Gotthard Road Tunnel and the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

Though the pass was locally known in antiquity, it was not generally used until the early 13th century because travel involved fording the turbulent Reuss, swollen with snowmelt during the early summer, in the narrow steep-sided Schöllenen Gorge, below Andermatt. As early as 1236, Gotthard Pass was dedicated to the Roman Catholic Saint Gotthard of Hildesheim.