Culture and customs

Nature as a source of culture & tradition

Not everything in the Aletsch Arena revolves exclusively around the unique natural landscape. In fact, this extraordinary area has always had plenty of space for culture, custom and tradition – and is often artistically inspiring.

The broad variety of options and facilities in Riederalp, Bettmeralp and Fiesch-Eggishorn, with exhibitions, museums and a wide range of events, is an indication of the living culture and strongly-maintained tradition in the most liberating nature experience of the Alps.

The development of tourism

In the golden age of alpinism, the first alpine climbers came to the Aletsch Arena region. From the middle of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, travel and Alpine mountaineering were predominantly the preserve of high society. Brits in particular, such as banker Sir Ernest Cassel, loved the area around the Great Aletsch Glacier.

The constant growth in tourism from the 1930s on also promoted tourism development in the towns and villages: guest houses and hotels were built, and the infrastructure was constantly improved. Tourism soon became an important source of income. From the 60s at the latest, with the development of the area with ever more railways and lifts, the Aletsch Arena also became increasingly popular as a winter destination.

A high point in the development of tourism the region was the naming of the area around the Great Aletsch Glacier as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Alps in 2001. Since October 2013, the resorts of Riederalp, Bettmeralp and Fiesch-Eggishorn have together been marketing the tourist region, attractive year round, under the umbrella brand of Aletsch Arena.

legends - mystical stories

They were often passed down orally over generations. But the legends that have sprung up around the Aletsch Arena have lost none of their fascination. The stories and tales surrounding the Valaisan legends are sometimes eerie, sometimes beautiful. And whether they are wild or mysterious - they all cast a spell over you!

The "eternal" ice of the Great Aletsch Glacier, mystical glacial lakes or the centuries-old Swiss stone pines in the Aletsch Forest have always captured the imagination. Exciting, beautiful or even eerie tales of legends have been created that are still gladly told. And even today, the Aletsch Arena still provides material for legends.


legendary figure

The mythical Rollibock, who lives somewhere in the ice of the Great Aletsch Glacier, is a wild, ferocious-looking beast. Yet he loves nature and has a strong sense of justice.

He loves the stillness and solitude of the magnificent mountain arena, which he has sworn to protect. However, legend has it that the Rollibock can also get very nasty if anyone deliberately harms the countryside or the animals that live there.

Nowadays, the Rollibock is no longer seen as fearsome. In fact, he has a whole lot of friends in the Aletsch Arena: there is a Rollibock Club and a wide range of events are held in his honour.


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