Beatenberg – Niederhorn Cable Car

Beatenberg, Switzerland | C.1946

Photo Credit: Nico Witwicki

With a history dating back to medieval times, the idyllic mountainside retreat over which these cable cars transport passengers has a fiery origin story — one shaped by a brave monk and a mythical monster.

Records first mention the Swiss town of Beatenberg in 1275 when Europe was in the throes great political and religious upheaval. At the time, fantastical tales of noble valor shaped the culture – and to that end, legend has it that the town itself was established by a dragon-slaying monk named Saint Beatus

Saint Beatus hailed from the Celtic islands. Scotland claims him as the son of a Scottish king, while other stories place his birth in Ireland. (We’ll let the Irish and Scottish hash that one out.) As the story goes, he was ordained in Rome and sent to evangelize in the region now known as Beatenberg.

Saint Beatus set up camp near the Jura Mountains and began his work. After some time, he took to the mountains above Lake Thun to settle in a cave, but quickly came to realize he wasn’t the only one seeking respite. The cave in question happened to be home to a dragon, and a fiery fight ensued. Ultimately Saint Beatus would slay the monster — thus establishing both the town, and himself a hero in the eyes of residents.

Today, Beatenberg remains a favorite destination among Swiss travelers, and Saint Beatus is still celebrated for his heroics. So if you ever find yourself aboard this cable car, set your sights toward to the mountains, both to enjoy their beauty…and to keep an eye out for any potentially peeved dragon descendants.

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