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Laufenberg Städtlefasnacht A carnival bridging two towns

Once a year the Swiss and German sister towns of Laufenburg are connected with a carnival. Napoleon split the town in two back in the 1800s and they have been separated by the River Rhine ever since.

It is dark and cold at five o'clock in the morning. From a distance you hear the rhythmic, monotonous and metallic clanking of the "Tschättermusik". The eerie music gets louder until you reach the middle of the procession in which the revellers use saw blades on old pans and other metal objects. It's Thursday, the so-called "3 Faissen", the day the carnival officially opens.

The madcap cross-border procession has for centuries connected the twin German and the Swiss towns of Laufenburg. It's a unique occasion. As part of the pre-Lent Swabian Alemannic Carnival celebrating folklore in Switzerland, southern Germany, Alsace and Vorarlberg, the carnival was included in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list in 2014.

Today it is one of the oldest carnivals in southern German region still going. The star turn is the oddly named Narro-Altfischerzunft 1386 guild, in a ceremony featuring a large model salmon, once fished in large quantities.