The Alpine Village

Photo and Journey

Alpine villages can be found in every part of the world. The very name Alpine village implies they only exist in Europe but the word "alpine" describes the high mountain passes where people settle in farms and villages.

Europe's Alps are among the most famous mountain ranges the world. The Andes are a famous range of mountains in South America. It would be just as good to speak of Andean villages but we're so used to saying Alpine villages that phrase is the one most people think of.

An Alpine village has a certain architectural style. The buildings must all have steep roofs so that winter snows slide down them. Otherwise people would be crushed in their sleep and no one would want to live in the mountains.

We also think of farms in the high mountain valleys. Alpine farming is ancient but not widespread. The most productive farms in the world are located in lowlands like plains and beside rivers. The romantic idea of an Alpine farm is probably set in people's minds because of movies like Heidi and The Sound of Music.

The people of Switzerland live in the Alps. They have very little low land where they can build farms and cities. They are descended from the anciet Helvetii, a powerful confederation of Celtic tribes, and the Alamanni, a confederation of Germanic tribes who conquered the Alps in the 5th century.

Alpine valleys, farms, and villages are very photogenic. People love to take pictures of them in all seasons. But I think most people would not want to spend a winter in an Alpine village. They would feel very out of place.