Survey of the Grisons

Graubünden, which is Switzerland’s only tri-lingual canton, is a place of economical, cultural and political diversity. The Romansh language and culture is an important part of the Graubünden’s character, which also boasts a beautiful countryside and tourist attractions.

In the middle of the 19th century, author and politician Heinrich Zschokke remarked that Graubünden was "Switzerland within Switzerland". In terms of surface, Graubünden is the largest canton, yet at the same time it is the most sparsely populated with 198 500 inhabitants. The capital, Chur, which is the oldest city in Switzerland, has a population of about 37 500.

©Marcus Gyger

Purity of nature

In addition to cultural and linguistic diversity, Graubünden also offers purity of nature: 615 lakes, more than 900 mountain tops and 150 valleys. Graubünden is a typical mountain area and highland. Forty-one per cent of the population of Graubünden live at high altitudes above 1000 MSL. The highest mountain is the Piz Bernina at 4049m, and the lowest point is the border with Ticino at 260m.

The only tri-lingual canton in Switzerland

Graubünden is the only tri-lingual canton in Switzerland where 76 per cent of the population speak German, 14 per cent Romansh, 10 per cent Italian. Multilingualism is also present in schools and in the administration. The Romansh language area is divided into different regions and dialects: Vallader is spoken in the Lower Engadine Valley and Müstair Valley, Puter in Upper Engadine, Sursilvan in the Bündner Oberland, Sutsilvan in Domleschg and in Schams, and Sumiran in Oberhalbstein and in the Albula Valley. Romansch Grischun is mainly used as the common written language.