It’s 100 years since the Jungfrau Railway was completed – an engineering feat that takes passengers to the highest station in Europe.
Since the railway opened in 1912, millions have been drawn to the summit dubbed “the Top of Europe” to enjoy its celebrated panorama across the Bernese Oberland. With its three adjacent peaks – the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch – it is arguably the greatest vista in the Alps.
To celebrate its centenary year, on 1 January, the Jungfrau was illuminated with a giant projection of the Swiss cross, with further images the following nights.
Head up the mountain this week and you are in for an extra treat (once the snowfall stops, that is!), as these works of ‘light-art’ will once again be projected onto its slopes by light artist, Gerry Hofstetter.
The images for the Centenary celebrations include a Jungfrau Railway train and a portrait of the railway’s founder, Adolf Guyer-Zeller, from his base camp on the mountain at an altitude of 3,300 metres, where he and his crew are currently sheltering from the current snow storms. At this altitude, temperatures can fall to minus 30 degrees Celsius. Luckily, the team took with them enough food supplies for three weeks as helicopter access is impossible during severe weather.
Zürich-born Gerry Hofstetter is one of the world’s best known light artists. A former banker, he became a helicopter pilot for two years before founding a Marketing and Events agency: he has already lit up numerous Swiss landmarks, including the Matterhorn, as well as transforming buildings, monuments and natural beauty spots around the globe (including Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and the Egyptian Pyramids) into contemporary works of art – using his huge 6,000-watt projectors to transform them into temporary art sculptures. “At the end of the night I switch off my generators and go home. Nothing is left except people’s memories.” he explains.
At FamilySkiNews.com, we are now eagerly awaiting the next Jungfrau illuminations, scheduled to run this evening until 13 January. Fingers crossed the snow stops soon!