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Brienz presents wooden encounters

One of the nicest ways of travelling to or from Brienz is by paddle steamer.

(Switzerland Tourism)

The capital of Swiss woodcarving, Brienz, is hosting its seventh international sculpture competition from July 1 to 6.

Sculptors from nine nations will work along the picturesque Brienz quay where they will transform single pieces of native larch wood into works of art based on this year's theme, "Encounters".

The Bernese Oberland village of Brienz, located on the lake of the same name, is well known for its traditional carvings of nativity scenes and alpine fauna and is a popular stop for souvenir-hungry tourists.

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The competition gives the village a week-long chance to present a more modern image of the art of woodcarving.

Later in the month (July 22 to 28), local artists will chisel sculptures out of fallen trees littering the forest floor near the small alpine resort of Axalp, above Brienz. An avalanche ravaged the forest three and a half years ago.

Since the avalanche, the sculptors have made a pilgrimage to the forest each summer with the aim of restoring life to the dead wood.

It takes about 30 minutes by car or postal bus to reach Axalp from Brienz. Hiking from Axalp to the area where the sculptors will be at work takes about an hour.


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