Like dutiful guards, the trees stand at attention. The peace, the play of shadows and the rustling of the leaves make it a special nature experience. A new book features the tree-lined avenues of Switzerland.
Avenues have been significant and versatile components of cultivated landscapes for centuries. Their history goes back to antiquity. They were created for reasons of aesthetics, protection, timber production and landscaping. Switzerland adopted the concept of the landscaped avenue from France.
In the 17th century, avenues made their way into the German-speaking world as tree-lined shade paths became a typical part of Baroque gardens. In addition, rows of elms were planted in the open countryside, and their wood was used to produce military wagons. From the 18th to the early 20th century, leafy streets conquered the landscape.
Not even half remain
But countless trees fell victim to the widening of old streets and the construction of new ones. According to a study by the Swiss Foundation for Landscape Conservationexternal link, far more than half of all European avenues disappeared in the second half of the 20th century.
With his photo book Alleen der Schweizexternal link (Swiss Avenues), photographer Michel Brunner highlights the beauty of this cultural asset while fostering support for its protection. The tree-lover has photographed and inventoried over 3,000 old and unusual trees and large bushes around Switzerland.
Pro arboreexternal link, tree inventory of Switzerland
(Photos: Michel Brunner / AS-Verlag)