The kilometre, or kilometer is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one thousand metres. It is now the measurement unit used for expressing distances between geographical places on land in most of the world. K is used in some English-speaking countries as an alternative for the word kilometre in colloquial writing and speech. A slang term for the kilometre in the US and UK military is klick. There are two common pronunciations for the word; the former follows a pattern in English whereby metric units are pronounced with the stress on the first syllable and the pronunciation of the actual base unit does not change irrespective of the prefix. It is preferred by the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Many scientists and other users in countries where the metric system is not used, use the pronunciation with stress on the second syllable; the latter pronunciation follows the stress pattern used for the names of measuring instruments. The problem with this reasoning, however, is that the word meter in those usages refers to a measuring device, not a unit of length.
The contrast is more obvious in countries using the British rather than American spelling of the word metre. When Australia introduced the metric system in 1975, the first pronunciation was declared official by the government's Metric Conversion Board. However, the Australian prime minister at the time, Gough Whitlam, insisted that the second pronunciation was the correct one because of the Greek origins of the two parts of the word. By the 8 May 1790 decree, the Constituent assembly ordered the French Academy of Sciences to develop a new measurement system. In August 1793, the French National Convention decreed the metre as the sole length measurement system in the French Republic; the first name of the kilometre was "Millaire". Although the metre was formally defined in 1799, the myriametre was preferred to the "kilometre" for everyday use; the term "myriamètre" appeared a number of times in the text of Develey's book Physique d'Emile: ou, Principes de la science de la nature, while the term kilometre only appeared in an appendix.
French maps published in 1835 had scales showing myriametres and "lieues de Poste". The Dutch gave it the local name of the mijl, it was only in 1867 that the term "kilometer" became the only official unit of measure in the Netherlands to represent 1000 metres. Two German textbooks dated 1842 and 1848 give a snapshot of the use of the kilometre across Europe - the kilometre was in use in the Netherlands and in Italy and the myriametre was in use in France. In 1935, the International Committee for Weights and Measures abolished the prefix "myria-" and with it the "myriametre", leaving the kilometre as the recognised unit of length for measurements of that magnitude. In the United Kingdom, road signs show distances in miles and location marker posts that are used for reference purposes by road engineers and emergency services show distance references in unspecified units which are kilometre-based; the advent of the mobile phone has been instrumental in the British Department for Transport authorising the use of driver location signs to convey the distance reference information of location marker posts to road users should they need to contact the emergency services.
In the US, the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 prohibits the use of federal-aid highway funds to convert existing signs or purchase new signs with metric units. The Executive Director of the US Federal Highway Administration, Jeffrey Paniati, wrote in a 2008 memo: "Section 205 of the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 prohibited us from requiring any State DOT to use the metric system during project development activities. Although the State DOT's had the option of using metric measurements or dual units, all of them abandoned metric measurements and reverted to sole use of inch-pound values." The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices since 2000 is published in both metric and American Customary Units. Some sporting disciplines feature 1000 m races in major events, but in other disciplines though world records are catalogued, the one kilometre event remains a minority event; the world records for various sporting disciplines are: Conversion of units, for comparison with other units of length Cubic metre Metric prefix Mileage Odometer Orders of magnitude Square kilometre Media related to Distance indicators at Wikimedia Commons
Nufenen Pass is the highest mountain pass with a paved road within Switzerland. It lies between the summits of the Nufenenstock; the pass road from Ulrichen in canton of Valais leads to the Bedretto valley in the canton of Ticino, linking Brig to Airolo. It is not the lowest pass between the two valleys, as it is located one kilometre north of a lower unnamed pass at 2,440 metres, traversed by a trail; the pass is of recent construction, having been opened to motor vehicle traffic only since September 1969. To the east of the top of the pass is the source of the Ticino River. Towards the north are views of the Bernese Alps, including the Finsteraarhorn while there is a view over the Gries Glacier to the south. List of highest paved roads in Europe List of mountain passes Nicola Pfund, Sui passi in bicicletta - Swiss Alpine passes by bicycle, Fontana Edizioni, 2012, p. 54-61. ISBN 978-88-8191-281-0 This article incorporates information from the equivalent article in the German Wikipedia, consulted during April 2009.
Cycling Map, Elevation Profile, Photos Profile on climbbybike.com Cycling up to the Nufenenpass: data, map and description
Gotthard Base Tunnel
The Gotthard Base Tunnel is a railway tunnel through the Alps in Switzerland. It opened on 1 June 2016, full service began on 11 December 2016. With a route length of 57.09 km, it is the world's longest railway and deepest traffic tunnel and the first flat, low-level route through the Alps. It lies at the heart of the Gotthard axis and constitutes the third tunnel connecting the cantons of Uri and Ticino, after the Gotthard Tunnel and the Gotthard Road Tunnel; the link consists of two single-track tunnels connecting Erstfeld with Bodio and passing below Sedrun. It is part of the New Railway Link through the Alps project, which includes the Ceneri Base Tunnel further south and the Lötschberg Base Tunnel on the other main north-south axis, it is referred to as a "base tunnel" since it bypasses most of the existing Gotthard railway line, a winding mountain route opened in 1882 across the Saint-Gotthard Massif, operating at its capacity before the opening of the GBT. The new base tunnel establishes a direct route usable by high-speed rail and heavy freight trains.
The main purpose of the Gotthard Base Tunnel is to increase local transport capacity through the Alpine barrier for freight, notably on the Rotterdam–Basel–Genoa corridor, more to shift freight volumes from trucks to freight trains. This both reduces the danger of fatal road crashes involving trucks, reduces the environmental damage caused by heavy trucks; the tunnel provides a faster connection between the canton of Ticino and the rest of Switzerland, as well as between northern and southern Europe, cutting the Basel/Zürich–Lugano–Milan journey time for passenger trains by one hour. After 64 percent of Swiss voters accepted the NRLA project in a 1992 referendum, first preparatory and exploratory work began in 1996; the official start of construction began on 4 November 1999 at Amsteg. Drilling operations in the eastern tunnel were completed on 15 October 2010 in a breakthrough ceremony broadcast live on Swiss TV, in the western tunnel on 23 March 2011; the tunnel's constructor, AlpTransit Gotthard AG planned to hand over the tunnel to Swiss Federal Railways in operating condition in December 2016 but, on 4 February 2014, the handover date was changed to 5 June 2016 with the start of an 850-day opening countdown calendar on the AlpTransit homepage.
As of 1998, the total projected cost of the project was CHF 6.323 billion. Nine people died during construction; the Gotthard Base Tunnel, with a length of 57.09 kilometres and a total of 151.84 km of tunnels and passages, is the longest railway tunnel in the world, with a geodetic distance of 55.782 kilometres between the two portals. It is the first flat route through the Alps or any other major mountain range, with a maximum height of 549 metres above sea level, corresponding to that of Berne, it is the deepest railway tunnel in the world, with a maximum depth of 2,450 metres, comparable to that of the deepest mines on Earth. Without ventilation, the temperature inside the mountain reaches 46 °C. Like the two other tunnels passing below the Gotthard, the Gotthard Base Tunnel connects two Alpine valleys across the Saint-Gotthard Massif: the Urner Reusstal in the canton of Uri, in which flows the river Reuss, the Valle Leventina, the largest valley in the canton of Ticino, in which the river Ticino flows.
Unlike most other tunnels, the Gotthard Base Tunnel passes under several distinct mountain massifs, two of them being major subranges of the Alps, the Glarus Alps and the Saint-Gotthard Massif, with the valley of the Anterior Rhine, the Surselva in the canton of Graubünden, between them. The tunnel passes under these two ranges more than two kilometres below the Chrüzlistock and the Piz Vatgira. While the cantons of Uri and Ticino are part of the German- and Italian-speaking areas of Switzerland the Surselva is Romansh-speaking; the Alps influence the European climate – and that of Switzerland in particular – and there can be different weather conditions at each end of the GBT, described by the Ticinese architect Mario Botta: "The light changes at the Gotthard: that of the Mediterranean Sea is not the same as that of the continent, that of the central lands, that of Europe far away from the sea." On average, the temperature is 2 to 3 °C higher on the south side than the north side, but on some days, temperature differences are well over 10 °C.
The north portal lies in the north of the municipality of Erstfeld at an elevation of 460 metres, east of the Reuss. There, the tunnel penetrates the western slopes of the Bälmeten and Chli Windgällen before passing below the valley of the Chärstelenbach, a creek in the Maderanertal. From there, the tunnel runs parallel below the Witenalpstock; the main crest of the Glarus Alps, the watershed between the Reuss and the Anterior Rhine, is crossed below the Chrüzlistock, the crest having an elevation of about 2,700 metres at this point. From the crest and border, the tunnel runs parallel to the small valley of the river Strem before passing below Sedrun and the Anterior Rhine. From the bottom of the valley, the tunnel proceeds towards the valley of the Rein da Nalps and passes east of Lai da Nalps, before crossing the Gannar
Canton of Ticino
The canton of Ticino, formally the Republic and Canton of Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. Ticino borders the canton of Uri to the north, the canton of Valais to the west, the canton of Graubünden to the northeast, Italy's regions of Piedmont and Lombardy to the south and it surrounds the small Italian enclave of Campione d'Italia. Named after the river Ticino, it is the only canton where Italian is the sole official language and represents the bulk of the Italian-speaking area of Switzerland along with the southern parts of Graubünden; the land now occupied by the canton was annexed from Italian cities in the 15th century by various Swiss forces in the last transalpine campaigns of the Old Swiss Confederacy. In the Helvetic Republic, established 1798, it was divided between the two new cantons of Bellinzona and Lugano; the creation of the Swiss Confederation in 1803 saw these two cantons combine to form the modern canton of Ticino. The name Ticino was chosen for the newly established canton in 1803, after the Ticino river which flows through it from the Novena Pass to Lake Maggiore.
Known as Ticinus in Roman times, the river appears on the Tabula Peutingeriana as Ticenum. Johann Kaspar Zeuss attributed Celtic origins to the name, tracing it to the Celtic tek, itself from an Indo-European root tak, meaning "melting, flowing". In ancient times, the area of what is today Ticino was settled by a Celtic tribe. Around the rule of Augustus, it became part of the Roman Empire. After the fall of the Western Empire, it was ruled by the Lombards and the Franks. Around 1100 it was the centre of struggle between the free communes of Milan and Como: in the 14th century it was acquired by the Visconti, Dukes of Milan. In the fifteenth century the Swiss Confederates conquered the valleys south of the Alps in three separate conquests. Between 1403 and 1422 some of these lands were annexed by forces from the Canton of Uri, but subsequently lost. Uri conquered the Leventina Valley in 1440. In a second conquest Uri and Nidwalden gained the town of Bellinzona and the Riviera in 1500; some of the land and Bellinzona itself were annexed by Uri in 1419 but lost again in 1422.
The third conquest was fought by troops from the entire Confederation. In 1512 Locarno, the Maggia Valley and Mendrisio were annexed. Subsequently, the upper valley of the Ticino River, from the St. Gotthard to the town of Biasca was part of Uri; the remaining territory was administered by the Twelve Cantons. These districts were governed by bailiffs holding office for two years and purchasing it from the members of the League; the lands of the canton of Ticino are the last lands to be conquered by the Swiss Confederation. The Confederation gave up any further conquests after their defeat at the battle of Marignano in 1515 by Francis I of France; the Val Leventina revolted unsuccessfully against Uri in 1755. In February 1798 an attempt of annexation by the Cisalpine Republic was repelled by a volunteer militia in Lugano. Between 1798 and 1803, during the Helvetic Republic, two cantons were created but in 1803 the two were unified to form the canton of Ticino that joined the Swiss Confederation as a full member in the same year under the Act of Mediation.
During the Napoleonic Wars, many Ticinesi served in Swiss military units allied with the French. The canton minted its own currency, the Ticinese franco, between 1813 and 1850, when it began use of the Swiss franc. In the early 19th century, the contemporary Franco-Danish scholar Conrad Malte-Brun stated that: “The canton of Tesino is the poorest, the people the most ignorant of any in Switzerland; until 1878 the three largest cities, Bellinzona and Locarno, alternated as capital of the canton. In 1878, Bellinzona became the only and permanent capital; the 1870–1891 period saw a surge of political turbulence in Ticino, the authorities needed the assistance of the federal government to restore order in several instances, in 1870, 1876, 1889 and 1890–1891. The current cantonal constitution dates from 1997; the previous constitution modified, was codified in 1830, nearly 20 years before the constitution of the Swiss Confederation. The canton of Ticino is in the south of Switzerland entirely surrounded by Italy.
To the north are the cantons of Valais and Uri, to the northeast the canton of Graubünden. Its area is 2,812 square kilometres, of which about three quarters are considered productive to trees or crops. Forests cover about a third of the area, but the lakes Maggiore and Lugano make up a considerable minority. Lying in the south of the Alps, the canton can be split into two at the Monte Ceneri pass; the northern, highest part, the Sopraceneri, is formed by the two major Swiss valleys around Lake Maggiore: Ticino valley and Maggia valley. The southern part, the Sottoceneri, is the region around Lake Lugano; the Ticino river is the largest river in the canton. It drains most of the canton, flowing from the northwest through the Bedretto valley and the Leventina valley to enter Lake Maggiore near Locarno, its main tributaries are the Brenno in the Blenio valley and the Moesa in the Mesolcina valley in Graubünden. The lands of most of the canton are shaped by the river, which in its mid portion forms a wide valley known a
Canton of Grisons
The canton of Grisons, or canton of Graubünden, is the largest and easternmost canton of Switzerland. It has international borders with Italy and Liechtenstein, its German name, Graubünden, translates as the "Grey Leagues", referring to the canton's origin in three local alliances, the League of God's House, the Grey League, the League of the Ten Jurisdictions. Grisons is home to three of Switzerland's ethnic groups, whose spoken languages—Swiss German and Romansh—are all native to the canton, it is the only trilingual canton and the only canton where the Romansh language has official status. Grisons is Switzerland's largest canton by area at 7,105.2 square kilometres, 19.2% larger than the Canton of Bern. Only about a third of this is regarded as productive land of which forests cover about a fifth of the total area; the canton is mountainous, comprising the highlands of the Rhine and Inn river valleys. In its southeastern part lies the only official Swiss National Park. In its northern part the mountains were formed as part of the thrust fault, in 2008 declared a geologic UNESCO World Heritage Site, under the name Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona.
Another Biosphere Reserve is the Biosfera Val Müstair adjacent to the Swiss National Park, while Ela Nature Park is one of the regionally supported parks. Elevations in the Grison Alps include Tödi, at 3,614 metres, the highest peak, Piz Bernina, at 4,049 metres. Many of the mountain ranges feature extensive glaciers, such as at the Adula, the Albula, the Silvretta, the Bernina, the Bregaglia and the Rätikon ranges; the mountain ranges in the central area are steep, having some of the deepest valleys in Europe. These valleys were settled by the Raetians. Grisons borders on the cantons of St. Gallen to the north, Glarus to the north-west, Uri to the west, Ticino to the south-west; the capital city is Chur. The world-famous resorts of St. Moritz and Davos-Klosters are located in the canton, complemented by the larger all-year-round tourist destinations of Arosa, Lenzerheide, Scuol-Sammnaun and more; the inhabitants of Grisons are called Grisonians. Most of the lands of the canton were once part of a Roman province called Raetia, established in 15 BC.
The current capital of Grisons, was known as Curia in Roman times. The area was part of the lands of the diocese of Chur. In 1367 the League of God's House was founded to resist the rising power of the Bishop of Chur; this was followed by the establishment of the Grey League, sometimes called Oberbund, in 1395 in the Upper Rhine valley. The name Grey League is derived from the homespun grey clothes worn by the people and was used after 16 March 1424; the name of this league gave its name to the canton of Grisons. A third league was established in 1436 by the people of ten bailiwicks in the former Toggenburg countship, as the dynasty of Toggenburg had become extinct; the league was called League of the Ten Jurisdictions. The first step towards the canton of Grisons was when the league of the Ten Jurisdictions allied with the League of God's House in 1450. In 1471 the two leagues allied with the Grey League. In 1497 and 1498 the Leagues allied with the Old Swiss Confederacy after the Habsburgs acquired the possessions of the extinct Toggenburg dynasty in 1496, siding with the Confederacy in the Swabian War three years later.
The Habsburgs were defeated at Calven Gorge and Dornach, helping the Swiss Confederation and the allied leagues of the canton of Grisons to be recognised. However the Three Leagues remained a loose association until the Bundesbrief of 23 September 1524; the last traces of the Bishop of Chur's jurisdiction were abolished in 1526. The Musso war of 1520 drove the Three Leagues closer to the Swiss Confederacy. Between 1618 and 1639 it became a battleground between competing factions during the Bündner Wirren; the Protestant party was supported by France and Venice, while the Catholic party was supported by the Habsburgs in Spain and Austria. Each side sought to gain control of the Grisons to gain control over the important alpine passes. In 1618, the young radical Jörg Jenatsch became a member of the court of'clerical overseers' and a leader of the anti-Habsburg faction, he supervised the torture to death of the arch-priest Nicola Rusca of Sondrio. In response, Giacomo Robustelli of the pro-Catholic Planta family, raised an army of rebels in the Valtellina.
On the evening of 18/19 July 1620, a force of Valtellina rebels supported by Austrian and Italian troops marched into Tirano and began killing Protestants. When they finished in Tirano, they marched to Teglio and further down the valley killing every Protestant that they found. Between 500 and 600 people were killed in the following four days; the attack drove nearly all the Protestants out of the valley, prevented further Protestant incursions and took the Valtellina out of the Three Leagues. In response, in February 1621, Jenatsch led a force of anti-Habsburg troops to attack Rietberg Castle, the home of a leader of the pro-Catholic faction, Pompeius Planta, they surprised Planta and according to legend he was killed by Jörg Jenatsch with an axe. The murder of Planta encouraged the Protestant faction and they assembled a poorly led and disorganized army to retake the Valtellina and other subject lands. However, the army fell apart; this Protestant invasion provided the Austrians an excuse to invade the Leagues.
By the end of October and Austria had occupied all of Grisons. The resulting peace treaty of January 1622, forced Grisons to cede the Müstair, the Lower Engadine
The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies in Europe, separating Southern from Central and Western Europe and stretching 1,200 kilometres across eight Alpine countries: France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria and Slovenia. The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, at 4,810 m is the highest mountain in the Alps; the Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4,000 metres. The altitude and size of the range affects the climate in Europe. Wildlife such as ibex live in the higher peaks to elevations of 3,400 m, plants such as Edelweiss grow in rocky areas in lower elevations as well as in higher elevations. Evidence of human habitation in the Alps goes back to the Palaeolithic era.
A mummified man, determined to be 5,000 years old, was discovered on a glacier at the Austrian–Italian border in 1991. By the 6th century BC, the Celtic La Tène culture was well established. Hannibal famously crossed the Alps with a herd of elephants, the Romans had settlements in the region. In 1800, Napoleon crossed one of the mountain passes with an army of 40,000; the 18th and 19th centuries saw an influx of naturalists and artists, in particular, the Romantics, followed by the golden age of alpinism as mountaineers began to ascend the peaks. The Alpine region has a strong cultural identity; the traditional culture of farming and woodworking still exists in Alpine villages, although the tourist industry began to grow early in the 20th century and expanded after World War II to become the dominant industry by the end of the century. The Winter Olympic Games have been hosted in the Swiss, Italian and German Alps. At present, the region has 120 million annual visitors; the English word Alps derives from the Latin Alpes.
Maurus Servius Honoratus, an ancient commentator of Virgil, says in his commentary that all high mountains are called Alpes by Celts. The term may be common to Italo-Celtic, because the Celtic languages have terms for high mountains derived from alp; this may be consistent with the theory. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the Latin Alpes might derive from a pre-Indo-European word *alb "hill". Albania, a name not native to the region known as the country of Albania, has been used as a name for a number of mountainous areas across Europe. In Roman times, "Albania" was a name for the eastern Caucasus, while in the English languages "Albania" was used as a name for Scotland, although it is more derived from the Latin albus, the color white; the Latin word Alpes could come from the adjective albus. In modern languages the term alp, albe or alpe refers to a grazing pastures in the alpine regions below the glaciers, not the peaks. An alp refers to a high mountain pasture where cows are taken to be grazed during the summer months and where hay barns can be found, the term "the Alps", referring to the mountains, is a misnomer.
The term for the mountain peaks varies by nation and language: words such as Horn, Kopf, Spitze and Berg are used in German speaking regions. The Alps are a crescent shaped geographic feature of central Europe that ranges in a 800 km arc from east to west and is 200 km in width; the mean height of the mountain peaks is 2.5 km. The range stretches from the Mediterranean Sea north above the Po basin, extending through France from Grenoble, stretching eastward through mid and southern Switzerland; the range continues onward toward Vienna and east to the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia. To the south it dips into northern Italy and to the north extends to the southern border of Bavaria in Germany. In areas like Chiasso and Allgäu, the demarcation between the mountain range and the flatlands are clear; the countries with the greatest alpine territory are Austria, Italy and Switzerland. The highest portion of the range is divided by the glacial trough of the Rhône valley, from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa on the southern side, the Bernese Alps on the northern.
The peaks in the easterly portion of the range, in Austria and Slovenia, are smaller than those in the central and western portions. The variances in nomenclature in the region spanned by the Alps makes classification of the mountains and subregions difficult, but a general classification is that of the Eastern Alps and Western Alps with the divide between the two occurring in eastern Switzerland according to geologist Stefan Schmid, near the Splügen Pass; the highest peaks of the Western Alps and Eastern Alps are Mont Blanc, at 4,810 m and Piz Bernina at 4,049 metres. The second-highest major