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Special events mark centenary of death of Heidi author

Heidi and the goatherd, Peter have been revived for the Spyri centenary.

(Heidiland tourism)

Special exhibitions, theme trails, and festivals dedicated to Heidi prove that the young Swiss orphan is as popular as ever- 100 years after the death of her creator, Johanna Spyri.

Little is known of Johanna Spyri, who died a lonely widow. Shortly before her death on July 7, 1901, she ordered the destruction of all her correspondence.

Spyri wrote several novels in her lifetime but it's Heidi who is remembered and is arguably more popular than ever. The book has sold 50 million copies worldwide and Heidi is as synonymous with Switzerland as chocolate and cheese.

A "Heidi festival" is being held in the resort of Pizol on July 7 in the eastern region known as Heidiland to mark the centenary of Spyri's death. There will be plenty of folk music performances and an international gathering of Heidi devotees.

Pizol has also blazed a "Heidi trail" signposted with the story of Spyri's life. The trail affords views across the valley to the villages and countryside, which gave Spyri the inspiration for the novel.

Another path dedicated to the orphan girl leads from Maienfeld, which claims to be the original Heidi village, up to the Heidi Alp, with plenty of family attractions along the way.

Special exhibitions in and around Zurich take a more serious look at the Heidi myth and her creator.


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