For centuries, the Alps were an almost insurmountable barrier on the way from Europe's north to the south, and vice versa. The Romans replaced some of the ancient narrow transalpine mule tracks with their famous roadways. Paved roads were introduced in the 19th century, soon followed by railroads with impressive bridges, viaducts, and tunnels. Today, 120 safe and comfortable highways and roads, as well as high-capacity railroad lines, serve as indispensable transit routes for Europe's people and economies. Without these passages, Switzerland would be an entirely different country: socially, culturally, economically, and militarily.
Through some 80 large-format color and black-and-white images, Alpine Passes of Switzerland demonstrates the boldness of the country's modern Alpine crossings, their infrastructure and beautiful landscapes. Additional historic photographs convey earlier generations' courage and pioneering efforts to build the roads and railtracks that connect Europe's nations. Supplementary essays trace the history of the Alpine passes and highlight their significance for Swiss national identity, explain their military importance, and describe the vision that preceded the construction of new base tunnels across the St. Gotthard and Lötschberg massifs between 1994 and 2016: the future of rail transit across the Alps lies deep underground.