Altdorf, capital of Canton Uri, is situated in the lower Reuss Valley, south of Lake Lucerne, on the road to Gotthard Pass. It's where the legend of Wilhelm Tell, Switzerland's national hero, was born.


Altdorf, the capital of Canton Uri, is located at the bottom of the Reuss Valley, south of Lake Lucerne, on the road to the Gotthard Pass.

This is where the legend of William Tell, the Swiss national hero, was born, recalled by a monumental statue in the heart of the village.

William Tell is a founding myth of the Swiss Confederation, a hero of the passive resistance against the Austrian occupier, forced to shoot a crossbow bolt at an apple placed on his son's head...

This is obviously only a legend, but it illustrates well the state of mind of these mountain people who only wanted to live in peace but were pushed by iniquitous taxes and incivilities to become fierce warriors...

A large town of some 9,000 inhabitants, Altdorf is located in a region where the foehn, the south wind that slips over the Alps, blows and the temperature is sometimes one of the highest in Switzerland.

Ravaged by fire in 1799, Altdorf has few buildings left from before that date, but the Capuchin Convent of St Charles, dating from 1677, can still be admired.

The most spectacular monument, however, is the William Tell Memorial. Incidentally, every year the Tell Games Society presents "William Tell", Schiller's play, freely interpreted by amateur actors from the region.

This guide features more places in the same region, check them out!
© 1988-2024
All rights reserved for all countries