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Welcome to the Carriage Journal USA


SWITZERLAND Lies in the very heart of Europe and is bordered by Germany, France, Italy, and Austria. This small country is made up of three very different geographical landscapes: the mountainous Jura of the north,the flatlands of central Switzerland, and the Swiss Alps in the south. Switzerland is the source of two great rivers, the Rhine and the Rhone, and includes part of the European Alps, which divide northern and southern Europe. Its mountains and valleys therefore define the country. It was this landscape that determined methods of travel within Switzerland, which consisted mainly of mule, or packhorse, and lightweight vehicles. Up until a hundred and fifty years ago, Switzerland was not a rich nation, relying on its agriculture for income, but rapid industrialization increased the country’s wealth.However, tourism and transportation have always played a large part in the Swiss economy and continue to do so even now. AS A CULTURAL HISTORIAN, I need to set the subject of travel in Switzerland within the relevant context and examine its entire history. I begin with the Iron Age, which was my particular area of interest when I worked as an archaeologist. More than two thousand, five hundred years ago, the area that today is Switzerland lay in the heartland of the Celts. These people, the Helvetii, were excellent craftsmen, particularly when it came to building vehicles.During their time, the concept of using spoked wheels was introduced into Europe. These were constructed in much the same way as they are today, maybe even better, as the Celts understood the need to make the wheel rim out of a single piece of wood,which they bent using steam. In the past, long journeys, especially those involving trade, were undertaken using barges and waterways wherever possible. It was the Romans, between the first and fourth centuries A.D.,who constructed the first systematic road system through large areas of Europe.They benefited from the knowledge that the Celts had gained in building vehicles and adopted those methods.Roman traveling vehicles were often sprung from axle...

 

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