Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


The Jungfrau

The Jungfrau ("Virgin"), 4,158 m (13,642 ft), is the highest peak of a mountain massif of the same name, located in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps, overlooking Grindelwald. The other two peaks are the Eiger with its infamous North Wall, and the Mönch (4,099 m).

The summit of the mountain was first reached in 1811 by the Meyer brothers of Aarau. Once difficult of access, the Jungfraubahn cog railway now runs inside the mountain, up to the Jungfraujoch train station at 3,454 m (11,333 ft), the highest in Europe. The train into the mountain leaves from Grindelwald, winds upwards through meadows below the Eiger, then enters the tunnel at Kleine Scheidegg. The tunnel runs eastward and approaches the Eiger's face from the inside, finally stopping at a window about 8 m long and a meter high, halfway up the face. There one can get off the train and go look out. The tunnel then turns west, heading towards the Jungfrau. Another stop and a window looks out on the Eismeer ("Sea of Ice") before the train reaches its station. The tunnel was constructed between 1898 and 1912; it is about 7 km (4 mi) long, with gradients of up to 25%.

Buildings at the Jungfraujoch

A large complex of tunnels and buildings has been constructed at the Jungfraujoch, mostly into the south side of the Mönch. There is a hotel, two restaurants, an observatory, a research station, a small cinema, a ski school, and the "Ice Palace", a collection of elaborate ice sculptures. Another tunnel leads outside to a flat, snow-covered area, where one can walk around and look down to the Konkordiaplatz and the Aletsch Glacier, as well as the surrounding mountains.