Vals is the last place in the valley. Further on there are only mountains and the sky. On the other side is Ticino and between them, lush alpine meadows, rugged rock formations, viaducts. And the quarry. Above, the glittering reservoir. And behind it, the elegant pyramid of the Zervreilahorn ("ds Hoora").
Why is Vals called Vals?
The only thing that is certain is that the people of Vals have conquered their linguistic enclave from nature. To this end, they initially had to understand nature, cultivate the land, domesticate the water and develop transport routes.
Shortly after Puggelischöö (Bucarischuna), which stands at 1167 metres above sea level, the territory of the Vals municipality begins and stretches all the way to Rheinwaldhorn at 3402 metres high.
The village itself lies a good 1250 metres high at the magnificent head of the valley and is surrounded on three sides by mountains.
The main valley, which stretches from the north to the south, branches out in the basin of Vals into additional tributary valleys: Zervreilatal is the continuation of the main valley, Tomül, Peil and Canal are impressive tributary valleys.
20 kilometres to Ilanz - 10 kilometres to Nufenen.
Since 1877, an engineered road has lead from Ilanz to Vals. Before this, the people of Vals were strongly orientated towards the south. An active exchange of goods took place over the Valserberg Pass to Hinterrhein, and via San Bernardino to the sunny south.
Cattle were sold as far and wide as Guibiasco and Milan. Polenta, rice, chestnuts and wine were transported to Vals from the south.
Likewise, there was a link between Zervreilatal and Olivone; trails, path control structures and supporting walls still bear witness to this today.
Even today, you can still see - as you emerge from the dark forest, the valley basin of Vals before your eyes - the chapel of St Nikolaus, where the old bridle path led under an arch, through a place of worship to the flowery climes of the place.