St. Moritz

A photo of St. Moritz in the Evening
Photo by ForsterFoto (flickr)

St. Moritz, Switzerland, hosted both the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympic Games. The first record we have of the town is around the years 1137-39 as ad sanctum Mauricium.

St. Moritz is named for Saint Maurice, (Moritz is a form of Maurice), patron saint of, among other things, armies, armorers, clothmakers, dyers, and he is invoked against menstrual cramps.

The city was originally known for its therapeutic springs, in fact, one part of the town is called “Bad,” which is German for “Bath.” Winter tourism didn’t start until 1864 when a hotel owner bet some British tourists that they would love St. Moritz in the winter. They came back to the town that winter around Christmas, (he promised to pay their return if they didn’t enjoy themselves, and their hotel bill if they did, so they couldn’t really lose), and that was the dawn of winter tourism in not only St. Moritz, but the whole Alps.

Here’s a fun bit of trivia: the source of the River Inn is near St. Moritz, so, at least in theory, it would be possible to follow the River Inn from the Olympic City of St. Moritz to the Olympic City of Innsbruck.

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