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Tell-ing landmark


Swiss birthplace remains true to its origins

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Building is forbidden on the Rütli meadow and you won’t find a visitors centre or a gift shop at Switzerland’s famous landmark.

Every year on August 1 it’s the scene of national day celebrations.

This lakeside field – a place of pilgrimage for the Swiss – has been kept more or less as it was in 1291, when history was made here.

This is where representatives from the valley communities of Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden met to pledge their loyalty to each other, in face of repression from the ruling Habsburgs.

The Rütli oath was later seen as a first step towards the founding of the Swiss nation.

In modern history, the head of the Swiss army, General Guisan, gave a historic speech from the Rütli in 1940 in which he called on the assembled officers to resist any invasion by troops from Germany.

These days, it’s forbidden to use the meadow for political or commercial purposes.

After national day celebrations were disrupted by Neo-Nazis in 2005, stricter rules were introduced. 

(Julie Hunt, swissinfo.ch/SRF)