• Short Summary

    Zermatt is a Swiss ski and mountain resort in the high Alps. On a clear?

  • Description

    Zermatt is a Swiss ski and mountain resort in the high Alps. On a clear day, the Matterhorn towers over the village.

    There are a lot of Swiss reports, but the difference here is when these people say horsepower, they literally mean horse power.

    Horses pull the sleigh taxis through the narrow village streets. The delivery vans are electric powered.

    Zermatt, a successful year-round resort, does not allow automobiles and never has. The closest paved road, the closest parking lot are five miles away.

    Trains bring tourists to Zermatt, the end of the line, and once they're here, they walk or take a horse-taxi.

    From time to time, Swiss politicians have suggested extended the road to Zermatt, but the 32-hundred people who live here have voted against the road three times now.

    When the first successful team to climb the Matterhorn set out from Zermatt in 1865, a hotel in town was advertising that it welcomed guests who came by horse or by foot.

    There are more hotels now, but the guests are still getting to them the same way. And they get to them in enough numbers to make Zermatt one of the wealthiest villages in Switzerland.

    The village is bigger than it was when Mark Twain visited almost 100 years ago, but not much different. New buildings have to conform to chalet architecture, and since there are no cars, there has never been a reason to change the narrow streets.

    Zermatt has turned its back on the automobile, the modern symbol of wealth. But it is wealthy anyway and avoids some of society's problems.

    There are no traffic accidents ... there is no exhaust pollution ... and about the only energy crisis that could occur is if the village ran out of hay.

    Lloyd Dobyns, NBC News, Zermatt, Switzerland.

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    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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